...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Bowmore 22 year old 1996 Old Malt Cask, cask 15354 for K&L

(Bowmore cluster homepage)

The final '96 Bowmore of the cluster is one that was much loved by Mr. Opinions. I'm not sure how often he has given a K&L pick 91 (non-EW) points, but the two of us tend to agree on indie Bowmore's quality, so I was anticipating regretting not purchasing another bottle. At least I got in on a bottle split, so I figured I wash that regret down with the Bowmore itself.

Distillery: Bowmore
Owner: Beam Suntory
Region: Islay
Independent Bottler: Hunter Laing
Range: Old Malt Cask
Age: 22 years old (June 1996 - July 2018)
Maturation: refill hogshead
Outturn: 258 bottles
Exclusive to: K&L Wine Merchants
Alcohol by Volume: 53.9%
(from a bottle split)


Nose (neat) - I don't find much at the start, which weirds me out. Maybe some toasty oak, a hint of manure, grapefruit......And then at the 30-minute mark come piles of guavas and toasted seaweed.
Nose (diluted to 46%abv) - Ah here it is. The grapefruit, guava, seaweed and smoke align and lift off, floating above a table of freshly carved cured meats.

Palate (neat) - The palate doesn't tarry. Chiles, lemons, peaches, ocean, heavy smoke. Minerals and ink. A bold tartness develops with time.
Palate (diluted to 46%abv) - The fruit becomes more floral, if that makes sense (if any of my notes make sense). There's a little bit of bitter chocolate and savoriness now. A slight herbal bite.

Finish (neat) - Ocean and smoke meets guavas and white peaches, and it gradually gets fruitier.
Finish (at 46%abv) - Lemony smoke blends with a great herbal bitterness.


There are times when whisky wears me out. And I don't mean The Scene (which I lost contact with a few years back). Balancing this liquid that's become a symbol of conspicuous consumption, with finding the right amount to sip before the negative physical effects slip in, and just trying to find the right time for a casual drink, starts to require more energy than I care to spare.

And then I sip something terrific, two things terrific. This pair of OMC casks (Wednesday's and today's) gave me that reminder I need every once in a while, kindling an enthusiasm that's been in short supply, in general. When a whisky says, "Psst, I'm fucking fabulous. Cheer up, old man," I can still hear it.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 90