...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Single Malt Report: Bowmore 16yr 1994/2011 Signatory

What?! Two single malt reports in a row? Yep, just a little something to leave you with for the weekend...

Distillery: Bowmore
Age: 16 years 11 months - April '94 to March '11
Bottler: Signatory Un-Chillfiltered Collection
Maturation: bourbon hogsheads
Casks: 565+567
Bottle: 196 of 773
Region: Islay
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Hope you appreciate the clean kitchen background
Here she is.  I will be sad but wiser when she is gone.  This was the first peaty Islay malt that I fully enjoyed (not just appreciated).

I purchased this bottle at the wonderland known as Royal Mile Whiskies during our May trip to London.  700mL (UK size) as opposed to 750mL.

There's no artificial coloring and no chillfiltering.  Most of the major distillers chillfilter their whiskies in order to keep them clear-looking through all kinds of temperatures.  Whiskies that are not chillfiltered cloud up in cooler temperatures or when cold water is added to them.  I love when that happens, so I'm a fan of the un-chillfiltered whiskies.

Established in 1988 by Andrew Symington, Signatory is an independent family-run bottler that pioneered single cask bottlings.  Good on 'em, because I've really enjoyed following them and their releases.  In 2002 they actually bought the Edradour distillery from Pernod Ricard, but more on that when I report on an Edradour.

Back to this Bowmore.

As you might be able to see in the picture, the natural color of this whiskey isn't gold or copper or any of the usual tinted whisky tones.  Instead the shade sits somewhere between ginger ale and chardonnay.

When sampled neat, the nose is softly peated, medicinal (but less salty/briny than Laphroaig), and has a little cowhide leather.  The palate is peat forward but smooth.  Light cream and sweet potatoes.  The finish is hot and cayenne peppery.  It takes a second to sneak up on you, but then it hangs out for a while.

With a few drips of water, the oils release but there's a minimum of clouding.  The peat and medicine almost disappear from the nose, and some menthol opens up.  Conversely, in the palate, the peat smoke is all that remains.  Everything else is gone.  The finish is cooler, but still present with some lingering black pepper.

I really recommend this with sea-salted dark chocolate.  There are only two or three more drams left in the bottle and they will all be partnered with that dessert.

You can compare this with the notes on the three Bowmores reported on two weeks ago.  But frankly, this one wins.

Sadly, I can't find this bottling online anywhere in the world (Master of Malt has a younger batch of '94).  So I guess I swiped this one just in time.  Here's how the pricing is built: (Price - VAT + Shipping) * (conversion rate in May 2011).

Heck, if you can find it, it's a treasure.

Pricing - Bargain at $70
Rating - 93