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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Bowmore 14 year old 1999 Old Malt Cask, HL10146

Monday's indie Bowmore was a lumbering (heh) sherried thing that swam worse than I do. Today's Bowmore is from also from a sherry butt, but it's a refill this time. It was also bottled sooner and at a lower ABV. I tried the two side-by-side...

Distillery: Bowmore
Region: Islay
Independent Bottler: Hunter Laing
Range: Old Malt Cask
Age: 14 years old (September 1999 to October 2013)
Maturation: refill sherry butt
Cask: HL10146
Bottles: 563
Alcohol by Volume: 50%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No
(from a purchased sample)

The nose is full of smoked fish with figs, sugary apples, orange marmalade, arugula and soda bread. A picnic on Islay? Yes, please. Though the peat reads at turns green or like coal smoke on the nose, it lands much heavier on the palate, like ham and burnt plastic. Lots of brown mustard, apple juice and cherry lollipops. It all gets smokier and sweeter with time. It finishes with a peppery arugula and herb salad, topped with figs. Dark rumbly peat. It grows more honeyed with time.

DILUTED TO 43%abv, or 1 tsp water per 30mL whisky
The nose has become a dank, muddy boat floor. Then simple peat smoke, apples and lemons. The palate shows peat, mint and oranges. It's lightly sweet, lightly bitter, lightly herbal and lightly drying. Lightly. The finish is full of sugary peat, pears, mint and bitter herbs.

Like the 16yo SMWS from yesterday, this 14yo OMC's peat and cask feel bigger on the palate. But here they're calmer, less suffocating. The palate feels better balanced — with or without water — and can almost compete with the stellar nose. This would be a great rainy day whisky. Too bad it was released four years ago, when sherry cask Bowmores were half the price they are now.

Availability - Winesearcher last found it in October 2017
Pricing - its average price stayed below $100 for more than three years
Rating - 87