Bowmore 11 Years Old 2003

Islay single malt scotch whisky

58.7% ABV, £47.70 for 70 cl

Score: 84/100

Bowmore11yo2003

What they say:

Distilled in 2003 at Bowmore distillery this was matured for 11 years in an ex-Bourbon Hogshead before producing 240 bottles at outturn in December 2014 at 58.7% Cask strength

What I say:

The 5th and final dram at the Jolly Toper Christmas Tasting (18th December 2014) was this enigmatically dark 11 year old Bowmore. Upon presenting this Mark commented that Wm Cadenhead’s do not (nor have they ever) added any colouring to their whisky – and that this was one of the darkest ex-bourbon cask matured whiskies he had seen.

Colour:

Dark mahogany brown (13/20)

Nose:

Machine or gun oil, sweet icing sugar and Madagascan vanilla essence, cereal barley malt, beef stock powder (OXO),  hints of peat

Taste:

Rubbery and sulphuric, spicy hot chilli, figs, prunes, sweet dark fruits, molasses, hints of barbecue sauce or sticky glaze/marinade, toffee and caramelised sugar, crème brulee and oak wood

Finish:

Long, deep treacley sugars and fruits, some zesty citrus peel – oranges or red grapefruit

Overall:

Delicious but confusing dram, a rich intenseness of sugars were present but also some spice, heat and fruits that would suggest more than Bourbon cask influence. I wondered if this was a heavily charred cask – or one left to dry as the sulphur would suggest some candling or treatment to sterilise this cask before its use?