Apologies to the French for all of this.
Secondly, I spent way too much time trying to write Tuesday's post. I wrote then cut four additional paragraphs defending the idea of "bad" whisky then realized I was either going in circles or expending too much energy not talking about the whisky itself. When it comes to writing about imposing one's personal conceptual structure onto objects being observed, sometimes one can and sometimes one Kant.
Wow, tough crowd.
We all have our own opinions about what is palatable and gross in whisky. There seems to be a mixed tolerance for floral notes. I like the ones that smell like actual blossoms, I don't like the ones that smell like bathroom spray. Some folks feel the same, others don't. Soap notes are particularly difficult. Dish soap is not pleasing to the human palate for the most part. (If, for some reason, you doubt me on that, go ahead and give your kitchen dish soap a few licks. Then some hand soap and maybe some shampoo. Then allow yourself a slug of the 1984 D&M Bowmore I referenced on Tuesday. You'll find they're all equally pleasing.) But a hint of soap doesn't negate a whisky, according to my palate. On that 0-9 soap scale -- with "9" being the old liquid Dove soap I used to use when washing my parents' cars -- I still enjoy whisky that registers a 2, can forgive a 3, and will finish a glass of 4. But some folks hate the very hint of soap in the mouth. That's fine. In fact, that's probably very good, as their brain's defense mechanisms are working better than mine.
Even so, I don't think that all FWP-era Bowmore should be written off as the same. There's so much potential for variation in whisky -- individual batches, distillery management, vintages, ages, bottlers, casks, warehouse placement, bottle storage -- that there are some good ones amongst the bad ones. Sadly (or not so sadly in some folks' opinion) that era of Bowmore's whisky brings a sizable purchase price. I never recommend anyone to buy something blindly, so before you splurge on a potentially weird bottle make sure you do your research online. The bottlings from '90-'91 often bring positive reviews; and there are some '80s Rattray, G&M, Macarthur, and Duncan Taylor that Serge likes.
I won't say it's not a gamble, every blind purchase is a gamble, but be educated about your choices. And don't accept every bit of popular whisky shorthand as your own personal truth until you've tested it yourself. Who knows, maybe you'll find a perfume-free bottle. Or maybe you're just the saucy type who likes a little FWP.