ODE TO………………BLACK BOWMORE
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious whiskies of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my liquor cabinet door.
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my liquor cabinet door
Only this, the famous Black Bowmore.”
To honor the famous Black Bowmore we gathered together again, the infamous gang of four, to taste this thing of lore.
Some of us have tried the Black Bowmore, along with the White Bowmore and the Gold Bowmore, but never have any of us tried all three together in a vertical tasting. We also had a chance, due to one generous sole in our infamous gang of four, to try some older, and equally as good, Bowmore.
So on a wet and dreary night in June we banded together to taste and ponder a few Bowmore and nothing more…
15 YEAR OLD MARINER SCREENPRINT LABLE 43% ABV BOTTLED
APPROXIMATELY 1994 2ND RELEASE OF THE 15 YEAR OLD
NOSE: Oranges and burnt toast. Marzipan. Fudge.
TASTE: Peat. Little fruit. Briny and creamy.
FINISH: Medium to long.
ASSESSMENT: Great expression of a younger Bowmore that was outstanding. Only wish the younger Bowmore of today could be as good.
21 YEAR OLD 43 % ABV PHASED OUT FOR THE 25 YEAR OLD
NOSE: Big old fat juicy peach. Strawberries and Cherries. Honey.
TASTE: Peach & cream in harmony. Buttery. Little mint.
FINISH: Medium. Wee bit a salt at the very end.
ASSESSMENT: Little peat or brine at this age.
25 YEAR OLD 43% ABV BLUE MOONLIGHT OVER BOWMORE & SEA
GULLS CERAMIC BOTTLE
NOSE: Light tropical fruit. Coffee and dark chocolate. Bit floral.
TASTE: Toffee. Licorice. Infused dark fruits. Pomegranates.
FINISH: Medium to long. Fades away nicely.
ASSESSMENT: Rich and complex drink.
30 YEAR OLD 43% ABV BLACK SEA DRAGON CERAMIC BOTTLE
NOSE: Tropical fruit, but less than the 25. Oranges, cherries, melons and apples. Oaky and maybe a bit of charcoal.
TASTE: Cherries and sherry cask imparted spice. Marzipan. Mint and dark chocolate.
FINISH: Medium to long. Brine arrives at the end.
ASSESSMENT: What a great bottle and great expression of a fruity Bowmore. I remember they had a hard time selling these for less than $200 in Calgary back in 2002, If I had only bought more.
34 YEAR OLD 1971 51% ABV BOTTLE # 761 OF 960
NOSE: Earthy. Coffee beans. Tobacco and dark chocolate.
TASTE: Nutmeg. Spicy sherry notes.
FINISH: Medium to long.
ASSESSMENT: Probably mixed one bad cask with a good one or two to hide it.
37 YEAR OLD 1968 43.3% ABV BOTTLE # 683 OF 708
NOSE: Tropical fruit explosion! Grapefruit & orange. Minty sweet Bourbon.
TASTE: Again you get pleasantly assaulted by the tropical fruit. Bananas. Little spice and Briny.
FINISH: Long. Absolutely no peat. Fades nicely with a little salt at the end.
ASSESSMENT: Nose is in the Black Bowmore range. Incredible whisky, was not prepared for how good this was.
42 YEAR OLD 1964 40.5% ABV BOTTLE # 668 OF 827 BLACK BOWMORE
BOTTLED 2007, 4TH AND FINAL RELEASE , VATTED FROM ONLY OLOROSO CASKS
NOSE: Fruit bomb! If you can think of the fruit, you can find it in this five alive fruit cocktail. Milk chocolate. Coffee bean.
Minty and little vanilla.
TASTE: Oranges & cherries. Dark chocolate. Licorice.
FINISH: Long and fades nicely with the memory of the nose.
ASSESSMENT: They state it was a vatting of Oloroso casks from 1964, but methinks that there is a possibility that maybe a bourbon cask was dumped into the sherry cask, as there is some sweet hints of vanilla. The wow factor maybe in order here. What a nose. This whisky could bring any rum child to instant conversion into a whisky man or woman.
43 YEAR OLD 1964 42.8% ABV BOTTLE # 673 OF 732 WHITE BOWMORE, BOTTLED 2008 , VATTING OF SIX BOURBON CASKS
NOSE: Tropical fruits, but much more subtle. Floral. Winey notes. Little oaky.
TASTE: Overwhelming amount of fruits. Vanilla. Oaky and dry.
FINISH: Long. Very smooth and enjoyable.
ASSESSMENT: Past its prime. Would have been better to bottle this a few years earlier.
44 YEAR OLD 1964 42.4% ABV BOTTLE # 156 OF 701 GOLD BOWMORE ,
BOTTLED 2009 , VATTING OF BOURBON AND ONE OLOROSO CASK
NOSE: Melons, cherries and oranges. Vanilla. Touch of smoke.
TASTE: Complex. Nutmeg and sharp ginger.
FINISH: Medium to long. Brine shows up at the very end.
ASSESSMENT: Rich full nose. The most balanced of the three (Black, White and Gold) releases.
The number one rated whisky of the night was the Black Bowmore, the second (was also the first choice of some of the gang) was the 37 year old from 1968, followed by the Gold, then the White and 30 year old.
I know the Black Bowmore was meant to be drank, but I can’t help feeling sad, that once the cork is open you are obligated to finish the bottle within a reasonable period of time, and after this bottle is drained of its contents, the Black Bowmore shall be Nevermore …………….. (Good thing we have a spare bottle)
– Nothing More, Maltmonster
Shame that there could have been a few other old Bowmore’s in the lineup!
Funny, I recall you were not so charitable to the Gold before, but now you are ranking it higher than the White… must be the company!
Yes , I wish we could have included some of your 1970 signatory Bowmore , but alas nine whiskies with large pours and second helping does tend to push a tasting from respectable , to a night out like we had at BrewDogs in Edinburgh a few months ago drinking Tactical Nuclear Penguins at 32% ABV and Sink the Bismark at 41% ABV .
Things always change when you do vertical tastings . I went into this tasting thinking that is was going to be the White in second and the Gold third , but having tasted the 37 year old 1968 to the White , the 37 year old , hands down was the better whisky . The Gold which I thought was third , seemed much better and balanced when contrasted to the White . Maybe when we tried the White at Bowmore in 2008 it was only a single barrel and had not yet been vatted ? Or maybe the White tasted better because we were drinking it in the famous warehouse by the sea ? Or maybe it was the great company of our group ? Or maybe it’s the fact that we Canadians were drinking it and the Singing Germans were excluded ?
Here are a few thoughts on one of Andrew’s Bowmore’s: http://www.allthingswhisky.com/?page_id=411
If you get the chance…you won’t regret it.
What happens at Brew Dog stays at Brew Dog… litterally!