...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Bowmore 11 year old 2001 Exclusive Malts, cask 1128

'Twas in another lifetime — no really, 2013 was another lifetime, right? — when David Stirk came to the US of A to peddle his Exclusive wares for the first(?) time. He hosted the late much-missed Secret Soiree one Sunday evening with maybe a half dozen single cask bottlings in tow. Though it was the youngest of the group, the Bowmore was the belle of the ball.

I'm not 100% certain this Bowmore was from that grouping. There were at least two Exclusive Bowmore casks that year. And they both sold out (in Southern California) almost instantly.

I had also heard through the grapevine (or the barley field) that this particular cask was an ex-sherry. Of that I am now not 50% certain. Its color is very dark for an 11yo, but it doesn't show a whole lotta sherry influence, as you'll see in the notes below. And that's how I'll end my series of four sherried(?) Bowmores.

Distillery: Bowmore
Region: Islay
Independent Bottler: The Creative Whisky Company
Series: Exclusive Malts
Age: 11 years old (September 2001 - January 2013)
Maturation: ???
Cask number1128
Bottles: 299
Alcohol by Volume: 53.6%
Chillfiltered: No
Colored: No
(Sincere thanks to Tetris who gifted me this sample)

The nose starts off with bright grassy peat, BBQ sauce, golden syrup, toffee, grapefruits and nectarines. After 20+ minutes in the glass it shifts gears, becoming toastier and nuttier. Stinkier peat. White peaches and roses. Big rich dingy dirty peat in the palate. Nectarine juice and mint. Cracked peppercorns and dried herbs start appearing after 20+ minutes, followed by dried berries and dark chocolate. The finish is slightly brighter than the palate. Tangy stone fruit with mint leaves. Milk chocolate and dry peat smoke.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1tsp water per 30mL whisky
Nice dirty, almost farmy, peat in the nose. Hot dried herbs. Rotting kelp, seashells, wet sand. Beach stuff. The palate gets heavier on the peppercorns, earth and charred peat. Dark chocolate and blackberry jam. Tangy limes. The finish is identical to the palate.

No matter what sort of cask this whisky lived in, the end result was very good. It flexes its power without going hot or raw. And it's probably my favorite of the eight Bowmores I've reviewed this month, showing off the sort of depth and darkness I anticipate when spying an indie Bowmore. As I've been reminded this month, not all indie Bowmores actually showcase this level of quality. It fact it's probably a 50/50 proposition.

Now, as promised, I opened up my own bottle of single cask indie Bowmore in honor of this April of Indie Bowmore. On which side of the 50/50 will it fall? Let's find out on Monday...

Availability - Loooooooong gone
Pricing - ???
Rating - 88

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