Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing cask: Ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry PX
Added coloring: No
Owner: Alistair Walker Whisky Company
Average price: € 300.00
Official website: www.alistairwalkerwhisky.com
After the excellent debut on the blog of Infrequent Flyers, we once again boarded Alistair Walker’s virtual planes, this time to Islay, to taste a single cask of Bowmore distilled on 6 June 1997 and bottled, after a final passage of undeclared length in a former Pedro Ximénez hogshead, in March 2020 at 48.3% ABV in 314 bottles that are almost impossible to find in Italy today.
We openly confess our weakness for the peat-sherry combination, particularly with regard to Bowmore itself, but we don’t hide a modicum of concern, because ex-PX casks can be damned rotten.
Let’s see how it went.
The colour is amber.
On the nose, the very first impression, quite intense, is of cherries in spirit. But this is just the oeverture of an overwhelming symphony that marries notes of eggnog, sultanas, dried dates, dehydrated apricots and a hint of ash from an extinguished fireplace, with hints of pandoro, icing sugar, but also poppy seeds, baked apple and baked pumpkin. A substratum of spices (pepper and cloves) is not lacking, while a memory of cardamom pairs with one of roasted chestnuts. At times, it is as if we were on the one hand plunging our noses between the pages of an old volume and on the other walking on a carpet of dried leaves soaked in mud. The olfactory spectrum, so rich and dynamic as to verge on opulence, is completed by a hint of sage.
On the palate, after an opening under the sign of spices (white pepper), we experience the enchanting harmony established between impressions of dates, sultanas and zabaglione, and a citrus note traceable to orange peel, with touches of hazelnut and salted caramel. The peat here is an almost sweet smoke: a kind of soft canvas on which the whisky paints its aromatic texture. Chestnuts return, conveyed precisely by the smoke note.
The finish is long and spicy, with a hint of smoke and hints of salted caramel and dried fruit.
The sensation, at least on an evocative level, is of an autumnal whisky, overflowing with different nuances, perfect for an evening in the comfort of one’s own home, far from the cares of the day. More concretely, it seems to us to be a dram of the highest order in which the marriage of peat and sherry, so divisive among aficionados, results in an authentic triumph.