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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Bowmore 15 year old 1997 Anam na h-Alba

The fourth of eight indie Bowmore reviews this month, this Anam na h-Alba release is the last of the bourbon cask releases from this group. The four Bowmores that follow are all from sherry casks, I think.

Don't have much else to say about this whisky other that it was well loved by all the voters on whiskybase, except for Cobo from whose bottle this sample came, this sample that has been sitting in the stash for more than three years. It's time to free it!

Distillery: Bowmore
Independent Bottler: Anam na h-Alba
Series: The Soul of Scotland
Region: Islay, Scotland
Age: 15 years old (June 2, 1997 - July 18, 2012)
Maturation: ex-bourbon hogshead
Bottles: 77
Alcohol by Volume: 52.8%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No
(Thanks to Cobo for the sample!)

The nose begins with wet leaves and fresh in-season peaches. Vibrant sugary green peat, as well as sooty smoke. Burlap, cinnamon, honey and clementines. The palate has mild citrus and lots of soot. Bitter chocolate, horseradish, soil and a mild sweetness. It gets sootier and sweeter with time. The warm and lightly bitter finish has an ethyl sting to it. Lime juice and simple peat.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or a little less than 1 tsp water per 30mL whisky
Water does the nose no favors. It washes away nearly everything, leaving behind only hints of earth, moss, lychees and apples. The palate gets more acidic, with generic citrus. Quiet notes of soot, pears and sugar. It finishes salty and sweet, with oranges and pears.

It's a shame the palate fell so short of the excellent nose, because this would have been one hell of a whisky. In fact, it all starts so well with the first sniff and then propels downhill from there, finishing quickly and quietly. Overall, it's a decent drink but it leaves me thinking only of what it could have been. Because this was a micro-release from almost five years ago, I'm not sure if this review is relevant to anyone. BUT if this whisky sits on your shelf, don't waste any water on it once the bottle is opened!

Availability - Not
Pricing - 'twas €65
Rating - 84 (neat only)