Bowmore 1997 18 Years Old SMWS 3.270
If you hate sulphur as much as Jim Murray does, you might want to stop reading, because this Bowmore 1997 18 Years old is riddled with it. Bottled by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, it is a whisky that isn’t suited for the faint-hearted.
What is it with sulphur? Sometimes I can’t stand it, while at other times it actually adds a new dimension to a dram. It’s certain that there are different kinds. The sulphuric smell of rotten eggs is disgusting, while a touch of gun powder could be pleasant even.
Luckily today I taste one that is in the latter category. I actually find it really, really good.
Bowmore 1997 18 Years Old (55,8%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, C#3.270)
Nose: Whoof! Dirrrrty. Gun powder galore! Unlike I’ve ever smelled before. Except for actual gun powder of course. I’ve seen reviews that specifically mention this doesn’t have sulphur. They must’ve been talking about a different whisky. Anyway, onwards! Grilled meat, anchovies, ashes. There’ some old leather here too, as well as maple syrup and berries.
Taste: Plenty of sulphur here too, but just like with the nose, I don’t actually mind this type of gun powder-y aroma layer. There’s some sweet brown sugar and treacle, as well as plenty of campfire smoke. Some leather too, as well as a big pinch of salt.
Finish: Long, dry, salty, peaty and smoky.
A whisky to end your evening with, as any other whisky pales in comparison after this. Over the top in almost every way, but strangely enough it works. I know the SMWS has released more of these heavily sherried beasts from Bowmore. Those should be good also.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.