SMWS 3.307 A journey into joy

Bowmore 20 Years Old 1997 3.307 A journey into joy (55.9%, SMWS, Refill Oloroso Butt, 564 Bottles, 2018)

Whisky Review

  • Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky
  • Origin: Bowmore distillery
  • Bottling: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
  • ABV: 55.9%
  • Cost: £Sold out
SMWS 3.307 A journey into joy

What they say

Cask No. 3.307: A journey into joy. A big sherried dram from a refill ex-oloroso butt with lots of depth and balance, 20-years-old and 55.9% abv from our Peated flavour profile. (UK and EU bottling)

Official tasting notes:

A glorious Indian saffron colour hinted towards the journey on which we were about to embark. Our sensory excursion began with the wonderful aromas of brandy butter over hazelnuts, walnuts and smoked almonds before the winds carried us east towards five spice, cardamom and nutmeg. The going was calm and smooth as we crossed intensely orange lakes with aromas that veered towards smoked marmalade with ginger. Herbal background notes became more dominant with the addition of water and suggested the presence of red liquorice, fennel and heather whilst the refreshing twang of quince jelly retained a lively temperament. The palate was a supremely joyous expedition through roasted chestnuts and smoked toffee apples with sweet red onion chutney and soft leather before a long finish of candied ginger and after dinner mints.

What I say

The final in our SMWS Feis Ile 2018 trio is this heavily sherry-matured 20 year old Bowmore expression

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Autumn red/brown (15/20), fine tears leave tapered ultra-fine legs
  • Nose: Punchy, PX-like sherry, raisin, a little bit of rubbery bike tyres, cloying, clove spice, red and dark fruits, treacle, walnut, a touch of floral lavender and coal tar soap. After breathing, wafts of old leather.
  • Taste: Quite harsh and fierce, rubbery bike tyres and planks of tannic wood assault the palate, sherry notes, coal tar soap and hints of red fruits, water helps by softening it into spiced fruit cake, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg and ginger with plenty of treacle.
  • Finish: Long, soapy, fruity, tannic, quite synthetic, treacle toffee


Quite harsh, over matured, too woody and tannic and far too strong cask influence – the peat is almost non-existant. Once the tannins have beaten your palate the end result is like licking a bar of lavender impregnated coal tar soap. A less joyful journey than the name implies.

Score 80/100

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Categories: Bowmore, Islay

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