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Casks of Bowmore distilled in 1993 are, deservedly, held in high regard. The distillery had been recently purchased by Suntory at the time and the new owners took the opportunity to have a serious look at the distillery and the distillate itself. Reportedly the fermentation times were at least doubled in length (currently 48 hour) and the still runs slowed down considerably. The resulting spirit certainly bears witness to the benefits of both such process decisions being highly fruity, complex and vibrant.
Nose: Quite delicate and reserved at first, more so that I have experienced with other examples of this vintage with just hints of kiwi, some floral suggestions and mineral notes in the form of wet gravel. Things change considerably once the spirit has been in the glass for twenty minutes or so; hugely fresh and fruity now with big notes of kiwi, gooseberries, sour apples and clementines with some passion fruit around the edges. Sitting alongside the undeniably show stealing fruit are coastal suggestions typical of Bowmore; sea air, brine and a subtle hint of peat. Water only intensifies the fruit and draws out a little complimentary wool and a nice note of young goat’s cheese.
Taste: Very much in line with the nose; big fruit on delivery in the form of kiwi, sweet oranges and passion fruit before a swathe of peat unexpectedly makes its presence felt. The peat quickly fades into fresh coastal air and brine. The fruit, faint peat and brine fine a wonderful balance in the mid palette and are joined by some faint farmy notes as hinted at in the nose. Beautiful.
Feel: Silky and elegant, an appropriate match for the profile.
Finish: The softest suggestion of dusty nutmeg-led spice now with maybe a hint of lemon grass adding interest. Continues to stays fresh with fruit and sea continuing in balance until the death.
This is another perfect example of why the small number of casks filled in 1993 have such a strong reputation. This is my personal favorite among the bottlings that I have tasted and congratulations go to Luc Timmermans for selecting such a cask. It shows less peat and brine than releases from The Whisky Agency and some others with an even stronger emphasis being placed on the fruity/mineral/fresh intensity that characterizes these 1993’s. They are some of the most beautiful whiskies of their age and type I have ever tasted. I believe there are still a few bottles available, though I don’t know of a U.K retailer currently holding stock, well worth searching for regardless.