Bowmore 16 Years Old 1997 3.225 Galleon attacked by pirates (57.2%, SMWS, Refill Sherry Butt, 617 Bottles, 2014)
57.2% ABV, £60 for 70cl
What they say:
The nose, with its delicate smoke, charred wood, tarry rope, sea-spray, cigars , coffee, fruits, spices and a hint of gunpowder, had all the elements of a scene where pirates attack an opulent, cargo-laden galleon at sea. Adding water brought the spices nearer – aniseed, Victory V’s and cinnamon Danish pastries – also dark chocolate-coated raisins and oranges. The palate had lots of rich, dark, tasty, almost visceral stuff – Van Nelle rolling tobacco, dunnage warehouses, fruit cake, toffee, ginger, earthy peat, coal-tar soap, charcoal, green chilli and coffee with After Eight mints – interesting, flavour-full stuff from the capital town of Islay.
Drinking tip: To enjoy with some maritime swashbuckling film or book.
Wild Game Match: Guinea fowl. The lightest touch of peat smoke pairs beautifully with with the elegant and delicaye flavours of guinea fowl.
Date Distilled: 25 September 1997
Colour: Deep cinnamon
Age: 16 years
Flavour : Peated
Cask Type: Refill ex-sherry butt
Whisky Region: Islay
Game Match: Elegant guinea fowl
What I say:
A 16 year old sherried single cask Bowmore (SMWS distillery #3) at the SMWS I think is exactly where and how I rediscovered my lost love for this distillery – though sampling their 18 year old at the Distillery tasting bar certainly tickled my tastebuds a little I recall. Tipped as the barman’s favourite after I ordered it at SMWS Queen Street, this was the perfect post-prandial dram after trying out their delicious game tapas selection. Yum yum!
Gunpowder, cordite, gun oil, slightly peaty, cigar boxes and rolled tobacco leaf, fruity oloroso sherry, figs and tannic leather
Warming, musty rich red fruits, quince jam or membrillo, prunes and figs, oaky wood, nutty chocolate, like a musty polished walnut wood gun cabinet with freshly serviced rifles
Long, slightly earthy peat and sherry leather
Would I buy it again:
Absolutely, this is a reminiscing dram if ever there was one. Years in the cadets has impressed the unique smell of British Army gun oil and cordite into the olfactory region of my brain. Normally I pick this out of Lagavulin easily but I was surprised to find this here in Bowmore. Of late Bowmore’s in-house expressions have been a bit lemon-scented and weak, but this single sherry cask is full blood and guts Bowmore in all its glory, hallelujah! I love the smell of napalm in the morning.