...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Bowmore 10 year old 2002 AD Rattray, cask 20102

(Bowmore cluster homepage)

Ah, look at the color of that whisky below! 💛 That hue announces, "This is the perfect place to start the main part of the Bowmore Cluster." In so many words. And it marks a good contrast to Friday's Bowmore.

I'm also a really big fan of AD Rattray's Bowmore casks, and more of their Bowmores will appear in this cluster. Cask 20102 interests me because it has received a handful of Whiskybase scores that are lower than I'd expect for a Rattray Bowmore. When I first started this blog, I found AD Rattray (aka A. Dewar Rattray) to be one of the most reliable indie bottlers. That feeling has been reversed over the past four years. So, could they have messed up a Bowmore?!?!?!

Distillery: Bowmore
Owner: Beam Suntory
Region: Islay
Independent Bottler: A.D. Rattray
Series: Spirits of the Sea
Exclusive to: Ambrosius Whisky Club
Age: 10 years old (March 2002 - August 2012)
Maturation: ???
Cask number: 20102
Outturn: 116 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 60.7%
(from a purchased sample)


The nose takes a while to wake up. The phenolics register first: machine shop, mild coastal peat and next-day joint ash. Confectioner's sugar, angel food cake and a hint of vanilla appear later. We get even closer to the spirit, once the abv is dropped to 46%, with oats, shredded wheat, mild peat and smoked salmon.

Closer to new make here on the palate. It starts with pears, grass, grassy peat and a tiny bit of sweetness. It's plenty tart (lots of limes), and gains a salty coastal note with time. Sweet apples, green grapes and mint appear at 46%abv. The grassy, leafy peat note builds gradually.

It finishes sweet, tart and mildly peaty, becoming more metallic and briny in later sips. Sweet pears, tart apples and salty peat arrive when the whisky is diluted to 46%abv.


Unless surprises await later on down the cluster, this 2002 will be the closest I'll ever get to trying Bowmore's new make. So I like it much more than did the Whiskybase members. Unlike so many current single-digit-age single malts, this is a whisky I'd actually want to consume semi-regularly. One could enjoy it at the beach, in the forest, in the shower -- he says, pretending like he drinks anywhere other than on The Whisky Chair. The whisky color told the truth, and Rattray didn't screw this one up.

Availability - ???
Pricing - ???
Rating - 85


  1. Having tried Bowmore's new make, you're not missing out on anything.

    1. Were they still dishing out the new make at the distillery when you were there? All people ever talk about now are the distillery exclusive casks that are immediately flipped.

    2. I did a tasting at the distillery and they opened with the new make. The distillery cask was entirely too rich for my blood and too heavy for my panniers, so I gave it a miss.


    3. Oh that's right! I'd totally forgotten you'd written about that visit.