...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Bowmore 25 year old 1994 Adelphi, cask 554

(Bowmore cluster homepage)

Down to the final week of 2021 and this cluster, I wonder, "Is everyone cheering the end of both?"

Today's single Bowmore cask has the largest age statement of this series. Twenty-five year old sherry cask Islays will never again be cheap, and neither will Adelphi releases (just because), so this one appeared with a price tag three times that of last week's lovely 22yo OMC bottlings. But one cannot be angry at an inanimate object for the actions of humans. The whisky's price is not its fault, but hopefully it'll taste good!

Distillery: Bowmore
Owner: Beam Suntory
Region: Islay
Independent Bottler: Adelphi
Range: Limited
Age: 25 years old (1994 - 2019)
Maturation: refill sherry butt
Cask #: 554
Outturn: 498 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 54.2%
(from a bottle split)


The nose feels closed at first with fleeting whiffs of orange peel, ash and cut grass. The ash note expands then shifts towards wood smoke. Small bits of cherry candy and butter become cloaked in menthol. It improves once diluted to 46%abv, as it picks up seaweed, seaside and cold kiln notes, followed by limes, baked pineapple and charred marshmallows.

The palate comes across kind of wonky and weird. It's very ashy and plasticky, yet also sweet and tannic. A little bit of salt and seaweed in the background. Dilution also helps here, once the whisky is reduced to 46%abv. The tannins and sweetness recede. The ash and plastic are replaced by kiln smoke. Citrus peels appear along with a good (not-woody) bitterness.

It finishes tangy, smoky, sweet, metallic and very burnt. Much better again at 46%abv, as the lemons, herbal bitterness, dry peat smoke and a touch of sweetness linger.


As per my notes, water is the key to this whisky, though it still doesn't strike me as something I'd pay €135 for, let alone its €335 primary market price from two years ago. Perhaps my palate has been spoiled across these seven weeks of high quality Bowmores, but this cask does not fill me with the exuberance experienced by the Whiskybase community. I think it's pretty good stuff at 46%abv, so if you're struggling with your bottle, get out your pipette, eyedropper, or turkey baster and have at it.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - I dare not look
Rating - 85 (diluted)

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