...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Bowmore 17 year old 2002 Blackadder, cask 20199

After Monday's 1989 Bowmore, I thought I should review a more recent Blackadder Bowmore, one that some of you at home may have seen. Distilled during the very fine Bowmore era of 1999-2002 (specifically, 2002), the whisky was bottled just last year----

Oops, I should have offered a trigger warning there. Are you okay?

I'll try to keep my expectations under control, but I do adore ex-bourbon single casks of Bowmore from this period.

Distillery: Bowmore
Owner: Beam Suntory
Region: Islay
Independent Bottler: Blackadder
Range: Raw Cask
Age: 17 years (2002 to 15 October 2019)
Maturation: Hogshead
Cask number: 20199
Outturn: 308
Alcohol by Volume: 53.4%
(from a bottle split)

The nose is a bit on the lean side. Some farmy smoke, pine needles and butter arrive first. Then, slowly, grapefruit, citronella candles and peach ice cream make their appearances. Time to use the "A" word. The austere palate starts off with stones, grains and pine needles. Bitter smoke rolls up into the midground. It's very salty and spirity, almost like a 7yo rather than a 17yo. The finish has more character than the palate, adding menthol and lemons to the bitter smoke.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1 tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose gains a nice seaside/harbor note to go with the grapefruits, lemons and dirty stones. The palate is "slightly" a lot of things, mostly in balance: slightly sharp, slightly peppery, slightly salty, slightly sweet and slightly bitter. That harbor note rolls after a while, adding some character. Again the finish proves to be more interesting, leaning heavier on the salt while adding a lychee candy note.

While this is probably a technically flawless thing, with its lean style and great nose, I found the palate somewhat uninspired. Again. Could my expectations have influenced my experience? Or could the excellence of its sparring partner (arriving on Friday) have given me a different perspective than had I tried this whisky alone? For a more positive review, see that of My Annoying Opinions who reviewed the same whisky from the same bottle two weeks ago. He found more going on in the palate than I did, therein lies the difference in our scores.

Availability - Probably sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 85