...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Bowmore 13 year old 2002 Signatory UCF (casks 2166 + 2170)

I give thanks for independently bottled Bowmore, but apparently not as many thanks as other people are. During a recent European auction some 15 year old indie bourbon cask Bowmores closed at over $200.

Indie Bowmores are very good. I've bought a few. I've reviewed nearly 30 different casks. Of all distilleries, Bowmore demonstrates the largest difference in quality between its independently and officially bottled products.

But who the hell is paying $200-$250 for a 15 year old Bowmore? And why? Is this the free market in action? Or are there several dozen individuals goosing the whole thing? And why would anyone  bother opening up a bottle of whisky at this point?

Though my reaction, once again, illustrates how far removed I am from the modern whisky consumer, this Bowmore situation is a new strange strain of bananas.

How about an indie Bowmore?

Distillery: Bowmore
Independent Bottler: Signatory
Age: 13 years (2 Oct 2002 - 14 Jan 2016)
Maturation: refill sherry hogsheads
Cask numbers2166 + 2170
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? No
Colored? No
(from a purchased sample)

Stone fruits and cocoa start off the nose, followed by salt water and a mild minty smoke. There's also guava, lime and a hint of the farm. The palate is bolder. It's salty and fruity (especially lemons and limes) with a good bit of peat. The cask only shows up with a toasted oak note. The whisky gets sweeter and farmier with time. It has a solid long finish with coal smoke, salt, pepper and citrus. It grows sweeter here, too.

DILUTED TO ~40%abv, or < 1tsp of water per 30mL whisky
Mild peat, flower blossoms, peaches and a whiff of diesel in the nose. The palate feels bigger than 40%abv. Tingly citrus and ginger powder. Toasted oak spice, salt, quiet peat and a little bit of sweetness. The finish still has a good length to it. It's sweet, tingly, floral and peppery.

The refill casks here were gentle, but not dead, imparting soft spice notes but no fortified wine, letting Bowmore be Bowmore. A good thing. The peat, fruit, flowers, salt and sugar never jump out of line. It's equally good diluted or neat. While it spins no epics, its grammar is flawless. So you should probably drink your bottle. Maybe?

Availability - 
Sold out?

Pricing - around €80 at some point
Rating - 87


  1. That is a very silly amount of money for a still fairly young Bowmore. I mean, you can buy a 12 year old IB Ardbeg for less money (at least for the moment).