Friday, 22 April 2016

My Favorite Bowmore

Whisky: Adelphi Bowmore, 1996, 19 Year Old



Adelphi Bowmore 1996, 19 Year Old



Adelphi Bowmore, 19 years old, distilled in 1996, refill sherry cask, 214 bottles from the cask at 57.2% abv.
Adelphi, where do you start? One of my favorite bottlers, I've never had a bad bottle from them, even a ok bottle from them. Everything I've tried from them has been stellar.
To say I'm a bit of a fan boy, doesn't quite cover it. If you were to look into my whisky collection, you'd see a massive amount of Gordon & MacPhail and Adelphi and if you were to ask me to choose between the two of them, I just don't think that I could.
So when late last year Ben Baranow, the importer of Adelphi into Australia asked me if I'd like to meet with Alex Bruce, one of the heads of Adelphi, well I was like a school girl finding out she's going to actually get to meet her rockstar crush, something that I'm sure made Alex most uncomfortable.
Most of the Adelphi that comes into Australia disappears into my collection and this Bowmore was no exception, however as much as one says "I love that distillery, I love the cask type, I love the bottler" but without trying that bottle, that whisky, you never know.
When it was confirmed that Alex was coming into Perth, I put together an Adelphi tasting, which featured the wildly insane and incredible Glover 22 year old, but with a line up of 6 whiskies from Adelphi, definitely not the world's cheapest independent bottler, and one of those whiskies running at the cost of $2500, I had to be cautious about just what whiskies would be tasted, which meant that the bad boys, would be out of budget, something I regretted and left me hopeful that at some point I'd get to try some of my Adelphi's before I opened them.
Two days before the event my Adelphi's arrive, and I'm informed that my selection is just not good enough....that we're going to be trying the 19 year old Bowmore....and I'm in heaven!
That night when I get home I exercise the whisky hosts prerogative, which is opening the bottles and sampling the wares. So right off the bat I'm cracking the Bowmore. I've had a bottle for a year, but now I get to finally try it....
And it does not disappoint, in fact, it blows me away.
See folks rave about peat and sherry, smoke and sherry, and while I agree it's a stunning combination, it's a stunning combination that is rarely done right or well. Too much sherry and the whisky feels...lopsided, sickly sweet, just not right.....not enough sherry, what's the point?
However when it's done right....mind blowing.
Adelphi has done this right, in fact dead fucking right...a refill sherry cask and this whisky is all about the subtlety. The smoke is there, refined as one would expect in an older Islay, but there. The sherry is there, all sexy like and having it's say, but again in balance.
The nose is .... probably the best nose I've ever had off of a Bowmore, a nose I could happily enjoy for days. Tropical fruit, guava, mango and rockmelon, smoke, gentle smoke, strawberries, sea spray and hay on the nose, but there's so much freaking fruit!
There's whiskies that smell so good that you actually almost don't want to drink them, you just want to nose them all night long.
But no point in just nosing, time for a taste!
More smoke on the palate then there is on the nose, a small amount of heat on the palate, but to be expected at cask strength, so salty, so very salty and then rich dark chocolate. Some dried tobacco, and then on the far back palate, the red fruit starts to come through, again the strawberries then raspberries. It is so very delicious....the raspberries actually turn into chocolate covered raspberries, something you'd have for Valentines Day, with the smoke coming back into the foreground again.
The finish is dry, so dry, with smoky chocolate lingering.
Fuck me I'm glad I've got a full bottle of this, so freaking good. At almost $300 a bottle now, it's not cheap, but it is so very good.

Nose: 25/25
Taste: 23/25
Finish: 21/25
Balance: 22/25

Overall: 91/100

Thursday, 21 April 2016

A Sickie Get Well Present!

Whisky: Bruichladdich Octomore 7.4 Virgin Oak



Octomore 7.4 Virgin Oak



Bruichladdich's Octomore 7.4, Virgin Oak Cask, 7 years old, bottled at 61.2% at 167ppm, 12000 bottles for the world.
Where does one start with this whisky?
Stunning? Special? Doesn't begin to cover it for me to be honest. I was lucky enough to spend my last birthday at Bruichladdich on Islay, where as part of the tasting I was privileged enough to be allow to pull the whisky straight from the cask.
So imagine my surprise when the Spirits Platform contacted me and said they had a little present for me. They were coy, not spilling the beans on just what it might be, so I was absolutely gobsmacked when this 200ml sample arrived.
Unfortunately I was ill with the flu, so unable to taste anything where I could smell/taste reliably, however I'm finally on the mend and able to taste once more!
Let's get into the whisky a little bit shall we? Well it's an Octomore so there's definitely the smoke and peat on this bad boy, but much less then then one would guess. a bit of alcohol on the nose, a heap of oak, a bit of smoky bacon, vanilla, some wet cardboard, there's a small amount of fruit hiding amongst the smoke and meat, apples and sultanas, but this takes time and patience to pull out of the whisky. This is a whisky I could spend hours nosing happily.
On the palate, it is spirity, especially if you're not used to high abv, but if you're used to high abvs it's pretty mild. I found it so approachable. Soft and sweet, again mildly smoky, vanilla, some dark chocolate, and again the fruit, but it's more of a lemony citrus note then the apples and sultanas
I pick up on the nose.
The finish is soft, and dry. A puff of smoke that disappears and then reappears.
This is an absolutely stunning whisky, better then I remembered trying in Scotland, and a whisky which I will be picking up in the near future.

Nose:       24/25
Taste:      22/25
Finish:      21/25
Balance:   23/25

Overall:     90/100