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  • Writer's pictureHarold

Bowmore Duo

I previously talked about how 90’s Bowmore was a turning point for the distillery, thanks to a steady handed Jim McEwan taking the reins. Today I’m focusing on the late 90’s distillate, which was towards the end of his time there, prior to reopening Bruichladdich. The following pours are seemingly quite similar, both brandishing the black and gold labels even. The cask makeup is vastly different though…

Bowmore 21 Year |Pedro Ximénez Finish| ~Global Retail~ 49.7%
Bottle Image Credit: Whisky.Auction

Bowmore 21 Year

|Pedro Ximénez Finish| - 49.7%

*Global Retail*

There were 2,500 bottles from this release, back in 2019, available exclusively to the Travel Retail market. My guess, would be there are zero left on the shelves at this point. This website seems to have the most info about the release, and with a website name like that, I’d say it’s pretty trustworthy. So assuming this was a 3 year PX finish, after an 18 year bourbon maturation…this will hopefully still retain some of the lovely Bowmore DNA.

Appearance: Mahogany

First Whiff: Salted caramel, wax candle.

Nose: Restrained at first…the PX wood stands out initially, but not overdone. Resinous cigar box, cocoa dusted cedarwood with some chalky, dried fruit underneath. Dried mangos, guava.

Palate: Leathery, medium-bodied. Prunes…cooked plums and apple butter up front. Green grassiness, herbal tropical notes seep through with some subtle guava and green bananas. Some tanginess too with a little orange zest, tangerines and ripe orchard fruits (green-apple) to round out the backend.

Finish: Medium, still restrained. Crushed cocoa beans and freshly lit pipe tobacco style peat…ends with some iodine soaked coffee grinds.

Summary: No water necessary. Super balanced cask maturation here…way more than expected from the PX casks’ color influence. The Bowmore spirit was there the whole time…thankfully, never felt like a winesky. The structure was a little beaten down by the ABV, though. I would’ve loved this in the low/mid 50’s but still pretty solid.


Bowmore 20 Year  |David Simson| Double Matured in Oloroso & PX Casks - 50.7% ~Distillery Exclusive~
Bottle Image Credit: Must Have Malts

Bowmore 20 Year

|David Simson| Double Matured in Oloroso & PX Casks - 50.7%

*Distillery Exclusive*

Bowmore aged in oloroso and PX? Like an older Devil’s Cask III? Sorta…but not really. The DC3, released as a NAS (after the first two releases came with a 10 year age statement), was a marriage between oloroso and PX casks while this David Simson release were all the same casks, which were re-racked after a 15 year oloroso cask, initial maturation, into PX casks for the final 5 years.

This 6,000 bottle “limited release” was supposed to be a Distillery Exclusive to honor the distillery's founder, back in 2020 until…well…you know. Once they realized visitors wouldn’t be able to visit the distillery, they wisely decided to turn this one loose onto the retail market.

Appearance: Deep Tawny, Auburn/Mahogany

First Whiff: Maple-soaked, crispy bacon from a bodega in Jerez.

Nose: Wood all the way. Coca cola. Caramelized sugar, Crème brûlée, toasted cedarwood, and camphor covered marshmallows. Alcohol is there but never stinging.

Palate: Velvety, crisp orange/zest, Sunny D style tang. Musty cedarwood. Dark chocolate covered, salty prosciutto…salmon candy, and slightly citrus with more tangy orange, citron style lemons and cloves cover the mouth.

Finish: Long. Takes a beat to wake up then it comes back woody and citrus heavy. Smoked cherry wood, cloves/aniseed, raisins and warm tobacco notes here…all with a mineral, sweet/tart style of citrus.

Summary: Wood-heavy of course, but also never felt like a winesky. Stronger distillate here, than the travel exclusive, which paired very nicely with the double sherry maturation. It never took the tropical turn I would’ve loved, but there was certainly enough complexity and balance all the way through to make up for it. And way punchier than the first pour, even at only a single percent higher.



Bowmore Duo


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