Colour: pure gold.
Nose: vibrant, expressive, a true fruit bomb starting on truckloads of passion fruits and mangos and developing on pink grapefruits. Amazingly fruity, really. It gets then a little buttery, with also touches of peat smoke, getting then frankly maritime, which is great news (it’s not only a fruit bomb). Whiffs of sea breeze, fisherman’s nest, shells…
We have a slight oakiness in the background, just to keep the whole perfectly straight. Grows even more coastal after a few minutes, with notes of kippers, canned sardines, anchovies… Maybe that comes from the Loch Indaal water that used to enter the casks when they were used to roll the barrels from the puffers to the distillery. Anyway, this cask is really a wonder, I think it’s the first time I can nose an old Bowmore that’s so greatly balanced between fruitiness and ‘coastality’ (except for the more usual lemon + oysters).
Mouth: a great attack, not too oaky, not too tea-ish, not tired, not evanescent, not drying… Fab news considering this one’s age. We do have all these fruits again actually, even if it’s not as wham-bamy as on the nose, maybe a little more on oranges and tangerines rather than passion and mango. More vanilla as well, maybe a little flour and paper but also lots of cinnamon and nutmeg, the whole getting spicier and spicier with time (but again, not drying). Granted, this palate isn’t as thrilling as the nose but it’s still really excellent. No peat here, though.
Finish: medium long but balanced, getting a tad drying now but nothing unusual for a 40 yo whisky. Loads of cinnamon.
Rating: the nose is like 95 points, the palate like 88 or 89… Okay, let’s say 92 points for this excellent old Bowmore. No wonder it sold out in a flash.