Ahhh…young love. Sixteen year old bourbon-casked whisky meets sixteen year old sherry-casked whisky. The two go for a quick roll in a port-infused cask and what we end up with is a sweet, sweet thing.
Surprisingly, something in this one rings incredibly close to exotic depths of fruit. Not something I’d expect in a dram this young, but I am certainly not complaining.
Nose: Playdough. Chewy sugar cookies. Deep grape notes. Orange peelings. Cinnamon and nutmeg. Dust. Like a glass of fruit juice. Mulled cider and maybe a little Amaretto. At once clean and…not. In a good way.
Palate: Black current. A hint of smoke. Big purple grape. Five Alive (for the spectacularly rich fruit mix). Some mouth-puckering tannins.
Smooth…until the slightly bitter finsh. Slightly contrived, but exceptionally enticing and enjoyable. Love this one.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt
I’ve never been in love with port finishes anyway because of the bitterness and the stiff punch, so I found this one a little challenging. I recently tried the Balvenie 21 Port Wood and liked it better overall, but it’s still not my favourite profile.
I haven’t tried the Balvenie, but do enjoy the Bushmills 16. Not an every day dram, but a pleasant change on occasion, The port finish I don’t like is the Quinta Jeff, I seem to remember you were going to open a Bowmore 18? What did you think?
Hi Robert! I did try the Bowmore 18, from the 12/15/18 mini three-pack. I find whiskies generally more difficult to judge from minis because I think they oxidize differently and/or not as well. In any case, the 18 is an excellent, round, mature scotch. The nose is complex, with a number of toffee/sweet notes, combined with traditional peat/sherry/oak (American and French), and even offset by some petroleum and fruit. The palate’s dominated by dark chocolate with a bitter peat twist. The age really shows in the finish, however, with a huge, long fade curve – one of the few whiskies in which I think the finish steals the show. Very well balanced, with great depth for modest power (much like Highland Park 18), I think this should be waited out (consumed over the course of an hour) after giving it lots of time to settle in a capped glass.
A 91/100 for both myself and my buddy, the Scotch Guru, and the mini did its job – I’ll buy a big one when a Bowmore slot opens up in the roster, but I’ve got a new Darkest to get through first.
I agree with your assessment.
The nose and finish are really pleasant with peat and dark fruit, but the palate
is less so. I kept wanting to go back for an occassional treat, though, especially as it improved with oxidation. It’s a bit high priced, so I haven’t replaced
it yet. Would be great to get as a gift! (Hint to relatives!).