...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Bowmore 17 year old 1991 AD Rattray, cask 2059

(Bowmore cluster homepage)

This cluster concludes with one more of those AD Rattray Bowmore casks about which I never shut up. I'll have to pipe down about them now, because I don't see a path to sourcing more of them. Also the Morrisons may be running low on this part of their stash. From 2005-2018, not a year went by without one ADR Bowmore release, but after only one in 2018 there hasn't been another since. So it goes.

Distillery: Bowmore
Owner: Beam Suntory
Region: Islay
Independent Bottler: AD Rattray
Age: 17 years old (15 July 1991 - 30 June 2009)
Maturation: sherry cask
Cask #: 2059
Outturn: 340 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 58.1%
(from a bottle split)


Peated milk chocolate cherry cordials start the nose. There's a significant heft to the peat, reading like Port Charlotte or Ballechin. One may also find fresh ginger and pineapple, orange peel and mint, and just a hint of soap. Reducing the whisky to 46%abv brings out that great kiln note I've been referencing recently. That's followed by damp leaves, almond extract, the ginger/pineapple note and the drop of soap.

The palate begins with a blast of sherry cask dried fruits and wood smoke. Then almond butter and homemade marshmallows (a fancy fluffer nutter). Salt, dried orange slices and a wormwood bitterness hide in the background. At 46%abv, the peat and sweet merge nicely. Less bitterness. More almond cookies. Hints of savory and tanginess around the edges.

It finishes with peat ash, salty almond butter, and "Macallan-but-burnt". It's similar, but sightly better at 46%abv. The Macallan-ish sherry cask-style remains, but it's less burnt. Savoriness and lemon join the peat and salt.


I tried this sherry cask Bowmore side-by-side with Monday's 25yo. Both improved with water, but neither sang the way I expected them to. This one had the slight edge because it was the better balanced of the two when neat. The nose's soap and the palate's generic sherry cask notes held this one back. Despite that, I wish I'd gotten a bottle of this when it was €75 twelve years ago!

Whew. After today's anticlimactic finish, I'm going to pull my notes together to provide the Cluster Conclusion tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - €75 in 2009
Rating - 86 (diluted)