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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Bowmore 17 year old 1996 AD Rattray, cask 960057

I started this April of Indie Bowmore on Monday. You may have missed the 1989 Liquid Sun review since it was hiding beneath my FWP bit.

As I've previously written, I always keep a lookout for AD Rattray's Bowmores. AD Rattray (aka Dewar Rattray) is owned by the Morrison family. Yes, those are the same Morrisons of the former Morrison Bowmore company. Just FYI.

I loved Rattray's cask 960034 (a 18yo from 1996) even though it was pricey. For today's Bowmore —cask 960057 — I was lucky to do a bottle split with Jordan of Chemistry of the Cocktail. That helped keep the cost down for us since we also split another 17yo 1996 Bowmore, which will be reviewed next week. Many thank yous go out to Jordan who made it happen.

Distillery: Bowmore
Independent Bottler: A.D. Rattray
Region: Islay, Scotland
Age: 17 years (March 27, 1996 - August 15, 2013)
Maturation: hogshead
Cask number960057
Bottle count: 292
Alcohol by Volume: 54.7%
Chillfiltered? No
Colored? No
(From a bottle split)

Farmy! says the nose. But it also comes crashing in with almost sulphuric peat smoke. And butter. The good news is that after 20+ minutes the latter two notes fade into the far background. Now there's very little alcohol heat. But there is black licorice, grassy Orkney-esque(!) peat and polenta.

Ah, here's the fruit, in the palate, more white than stone, and mostly subtle. Mint leaves and cinnamon. Lightly sweet, but very mineral peat.

It finishes minty and tingly. A hint of the palate's fruit. The peat reads the mildest here, though it gets ashier with time.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or a little more than 1 tsp water for 30mL whisky
The nose remains farmy, but now it also has an herbal side. Lemon zest and sugar syrup perk it up.

The palate has a good balance of herbal bitterness and candy sweetness. Plenty of peat throughout, along with some cooling mint.

The mint remains in the finish, which is sweeter than the neat version. The peat lightens up, but the overall length remains the same.

Though water reduces the whisky's complexity, it also pulls everything together, cleaning up a bit of a mess. The peat acts as chameleon through, taking on different colors and forms. In my opinion, this could use more fruit. But the nose's farminess is just right. Overall, this Bowmore performed better during the tasting than I'd expected, as I was underwhelmed during the first few casual glasses this winter. It's not in the top tier of Rattray's Bowmores, but it's still a lot better than what most other companies have to offer from their Bowmore stash. Still, I might dilute the remainder of my split to 46%abv...

Availability - Probably 99% sold out
Pricing - Somewhere between $160-$180
Rating - 85 (with water)


  1. Sounds more similar to the 14 Year ADR Bowmore than the 18 Year. Let's hear it for cask variation. I have a sample of the younger one that you sent me a while back, so I'll try to do them head to head.

    1. I might have one ounce of that 14yo sitting around. I'll try them side by side, too, if I do have it.

      Looking at the original notes for the 14. Looks like it was more Kildalton-peatier when neat, but very similar to this one when diluted. Both may have been from re-re-refill casks.