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Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Bowmore 20 year old 1997 Old Particular, cask DL 12122 for K&L Wine Merchants

(Bowmore cluster homepage)

Monday was 1998. Today and Friday it'll be 1997. (I wish.) Whisky #7 in this cluster was also a K&L Old Particular Bowmore bottled in 2017. Younger and from a smaller cask, that one was kinda nude and kinda raw, but not as saucy as that sounds. I won't hold that against this whisky, because single casks offer a variety of views into each distillery's whisky. Had I still lived in California when this hit the shelves, I probably would have given it a chase. Because 20+ year old Bowmore.

Distillery: Bowmore
Owner: Beam Suntory
Region: Islay
Bottler: Douglas Laing
Range: Old Particular
Exclusive to: K&L Wine Merchants
Age: 20 years (March 1997 - September 2017)
Maturation: refill hogshead
Cask #: DL 12122
Outturn: 256 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 52.7%
(from a bottle split)


Another nearly naked nose. I enjoy these notes of broken rocks, lemon zest, kiln and a little bit of farm. With time it picks up hints of flowers, mango, toffee and pencil shavings. The nose gets simpler once the whisky is reduced to 46%abv, but it's well-balanced. More limes than lemons. More wood smoke than kiln.

The palate begins with mezcal?!?!!1/! At 20 years old? A good mezcal at the beach. Ah, now some super tart fruits form a shell around it. The smoke gets heavier, almost metallic, after some time in the glass. Diluting it to 46%abv helps out matters. The smoke gets ""better"" and ""older"". (My handwritten notes have the actual "" in them. I don't know.) Anyway, the limes and grapefruits become more vibrant and a good bitterness appears.

It finishes with heavy kiln smoke, salt and herbal bitterness, which doesn't change much after the whisky is dropped to 46%abv.


First off, I appreciate that K&L selected low-oak Bowmores when it came to these two Old Particulars. Neither is an easy whisky. I prefer this one, though again the nose far outpaces the palate. And, again, dilution helps. Had I found all those nice fruits that My Annoying Opinions references in his review, we likely would have had the same score. What can I say? That man just loves K&L.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - $149.99 back in 2017
Rating - 86

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