Some Bowmores have a reputation, and this is one of them. The Bowmore 1996 17 Years Old from The Whisky Agency has received many glowing reviews in the past, making it a highly coveted whisky.
Serge Valentin, Ruben Luyten and Johan van Samang, three (former) whisky bloggers I immensely respect, all gave this whisky high scores and even higher praise. According to those guys, it has everything you’d want from a Bowmore. To me (and to them too) it in large part means a good amount of tropical fruit.
Bowmore 1996 17 Years Old (52,7%, The Whisky Agency, 307 bts.)
Nose: Fresh peat, brine and soot, accompanied by green apples, straw, mango, sweet vanilla and banana peel. Extremely complex and ever-changing. Now more marzipan, malted barley and feint wood smoke, with a slight minerality. Taste: A very creamy start, with subtle peat smoke. Quite earthy, with a touch of charcoal, as well as brine, pepper and licorice. I don’t really get the abundant fruitiness many others describe, although there’s definitely some grapefruit and lemon zest here. Finish: Zesty, briny and subtly peated, with citrus fruits fighting for attention. Long.
A Bowmore that noses wonderfully, but doesn’t quite deliver the same high-level experience on the palate (to me at least). Still top notch whisky though. Lovely stuff and for sure my preferred style of Islay whisky.