...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Bowmore 13 year old 1998 Asta Morris, cask AM003

(Bowmore cluster homepage)

This cluster's final nine Bowmore single malts were all distilled between 1991 and 1998. I know a lot of folks like Bowmore's early Aughts the best, but I tend to prefer this '91-'98 timeframe. Aside from this first pour, these remaining whiskies will have some age on them, with five cracking the 20 year mark.

Today's Bowmore was one of the earliest releases by Asta Morris, a Belgian independent bottling company started by former Malt Maniac, Bert Bruyneel. This is only the second Asta Morris I've tried, the first being a great 2000 Ardmore. I'm unable to moderate my expectations here...

Distillery: Bowmore
Owner: Beam Suntory
Region: Islay
Bottler: Asta Morris
Age: 13 years (1998 - 2011)
Maturation: maybe a bourbon barrel?
Cask #: AM0003
Outturn: 211 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 49.7%
(from a purchased sample)


The nose begins filled with salty ocean air, barley, brown sugar, shortbread and fresh kettle corn. Steel wool and kiln linger in the background. Notes of grapefruit, young calvados and apricot jam develop over the next 30 minutes.

The palate starts off with hay, hay smoke, wool, grapefruit and lychee. More citrus and perky bitterness appear soon after. It remains gently sweet and earthy as the smoke gradually tilts towards cigars.

It finishes with earth, stones, hay, limes, grapefruit and salt.


If all young Islay single casks tasted like this I would be damned broke right now. The very low ABV worked in the whisky's favor, and I could not bring my pipette to alter the pour. Though this could have stayed in its cask for a few more years in order to tease out more complexity, that would have risked the oak elbowing in. My guess is most current producers would have risked that, but Asta Morris's conservative approach resulted in a crisp high quality Bowmore.

Availability - Sold out a decade ago
Pricing - ???
Rating - 89