Another Malt Nuts tasting I missed to attend but received the samples for. This time I have a series of fifteen different ex-bourbon cask matured Bowmore expressions on my desk. As I mentioned before on this blog Malt Nuts tastings are divided into flights arranged in advance known to one club member only and every flight is tasted blind. After the reveal of each flight we move on to the next one, etc. So, I won't have the chance to conduct the tasting blind today with other club members but it will be a hell of a journey regardless. Thanks to Josh Peters a.k.a. The Whiskey Jug for sharing all the detailed info about the bottles.
Color: Hard to believe that it's 16 year old... Pale straw, lemon chiffon color with thick and oily legs.
Nose: Overripe bananas, grease and turpentine. Dry soot, plastic lunch box and lemon juice. Very muted... Fresh rosemary leaves and pine cones.
Palate: Dried papaya, cookie dough and fresh almonds with a quite creamy texture. Like it was on the nose everything is kinda shy. Charcoal, vanilla and cilantro leaves.
Finish: Medium with white pepper and coriander.
Overall: It's an ok whisky... Incredibly uninspiring but there is also absolutely nothing offensive about it. Again it is very hard to believe that it's actually a 16 year old whisky. The label says that it was a refill barrel but I bet it was a 3rd fill if not a 4th fill.
1B - Bowmore 17yo (1990s bottling) (43.0%)
Color: Polished copper, orange blossom honey color with fast and rather thin legs.
Nose: A little sulphury, not at a level to make me uncomfortable but it is pretty noticeable. Unstruck matches, damp basement and cooked raisins and prunes. Wet wool, beef stock and diesel fuel.
Palate: Oh... Here we go: FWP..! Not as extreme as in some expressions from 80s and 90s I tasted before but it's definitely one of those. Lavender cologne, all kind of cheap perfumes you can think of and oak. Welch's grape soda and black cherries.
Finish: Medium and dry with black cherry jelly beans.
Overall: Well, although some people really love these old Bowmores they are not my thing really.
1C - Bowmore Gold Reef (43.0%)
Color: Yellow gold, oaked Chardonnay with hick and slow moving legs.
Nose: Very refreshing and fruity... Concorde pear slices, table grapes and white peaches. All enveloped by the Bowmore plasticky aromas which I have been always in love with. Pencil shavings, canned pineapple rings and guava.
Palate: A little thin... Old paper sheets, green wood and wool sweaters. Grain whisky, honey syrup and vanilla. I am afraid the palate wasn't as excited as the nose but still didn't let me down.
Finish: Short with vanilla, dry malt and tea biscuits.
Overall: It won't knock your socks off but it's a very good pub whisky for my two cents. I would take this whisky as a companion to a freshly pulled cask ale anytime anywhere. Very easy drinking and my kinda session whisky. I liked it...
1D - Bowmore White Sands 17yo (43.0%)
Color: Copper and rich honey color with very persistent legs this time.
Nose: Cold ocean spray, wet beach sand and ripe mangos. Fresh apricots, newly bought rubber garden hose and red plums.
Palate: Wool sweaters, apple and pear compote and young Calvados. Candied orange peels, orange peel preserve and milk chocolate.
Finish: Medium long with dried orange wedges, honey and oak.
Overall: I think we have a clear winner for this flight... It's a great example of a well executed ex-bourbon maturation. It's fruity, juicy and incredibly well balanced. One can only imagine how a stunner this whisky could be if bottled at cask strength. Brilliant stuff...