If you purchased this bottle at auction today, it could cost you as much as $600. Luckily, someone at the LCBO was asleep at the wheel and I paid less than $100 for this (there's weren't many allocated and it was gone very quickly).
There have been two releases of this small batch expression; here we're reviewing the first release. It is matured exclusively in first-fill sherry casks and bottled at cask strength.
The colour is a dark mahogany. On the nose, stewed prunes (in a good way, if that makes any sense), wood stain, leather and peat. Dates, walnuts and very dark chocolate. Chili powder. Deep and rich, and playful! Very enjoyable, especially with water, which brings out herbal notes, overripe banana and cigar box.
On the palate the spice kicks in, with more chili and Sriracha. Heavily sherried - nutty with fruitcake, melted dark chocolate and of course peat. Not overtly smoky though (a little more so with water). Tasty but could use a bit more subtlety.
The finish is salumi with bitter dark roast coffee and hazelnuts. For many, this will be a WOW dram; for me, it is very interesting - there is nothing else quite like it - but it's not totally my style. I would even score the standard 12 years old a little higher. I've poured this for friends and they have loved it, so if you can take out a second mortgage and buy yourself a bottle, you may love it too. Writing for Whisky Advocate, Dave Broom scored this a 90.
Speaking of that second mortgage - this just goes to show how people have more money than brains. It's not Bowmore's fault - they sold this cask strength 10 year old for less than $100. How this managed to get up to the hundreds of dollars at auction is beyond me. People, they just took 10 year old whisky and did a limited expression! Totally bonkers, but it makes me wish I bought a second bottle as an investment (see, I'm not part of the solution, I'm part of the problem!)