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This particular Bowmore expression was distilled in 1989, matured exclusively in port casks and released in 2013 as a 23-year old. It was launched as a limited edition of 12,000 bottles but is still widely available, which may have something to do with the impressive price tag (about 500 euros at the time of writing).
The nose is very sweet and floral at the beginning, then quickly gains in weight by displaying rich notes of caramel, honey, dark chocolate and oranges. Light smoke hovers in the background, together with notes of soft wood spice.
The palate is medium-bodied and spicy. Notes of smoke and brine come first, followed by flavours of oranges, honey and lemon, and accompanied by a panoply of salty and peppery notes.
The finish is long and sweet, to the point of almost getting syrupy. Smoke lingers until the very end, together with notes of orange peel.
I liked this Bowmore very much and I think it is great to see a whisky entirely matured in port casks whereas many distilleries would only attempt a finishing in port casks. Overall, this intriguing expression beautifully combines a variety of sweet and spicy flavours with smoky and salty notes. As to whether the price tag is justified or not, I will leave this up to the discerning connoisseur to assess.h