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BOWMORE BICENTENARY (1979, NAS, OB, 46%)

Today we drink the History. We are privileged to taste a unique bottle: in order to celebrate its 200th anniversary, Bowmore released in 1979 different expressions of a special bottling. Info are rather mysterious about them, but there are 20.400 bottles (here you can find some more details): some of the mare vintages (1964/1979), cask strength, with a squared bottle; another one – this one – is a NAS: whisky distilled between 1950 and ‘60s, ten different vintages, fully matured in ex-sherry casks. The bottle – flying-hand blown – is a replica of an ancient decanter. This is said to be the best Bowmore bottling e ver,along with the Black Bowmore, which now costs almost three times more.

Schermata 2015-06-20 alle 12.48.16N: sensationally open and rich, it fills your nose with endless aromatic whiffs. Alcohol is completely missing. Everything is merged and compact, it’s astonishing. Anyway, the fruity sweetness is in the front row, even more than the usual Bowmore notes. Wild berries are everywhere: blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries: fresh and juicy. It reminds us some of those concentrate juice, or jelly sweets. Unexpected, a curious hint of balsamic vinegar. The fruit is getting darker, now: chinotto, dried plums and tobacco.
Then, we have an harmonious choir of fresh flowers, passion fruit and prickly pears. Last but not least: the island touch. Bowmore usually doesn’t show powerful peatiness. Here it’s even more subtle than usual, but the coastal character is wonderfully confirmed, perfectly integrated with everything else. There’s also an inorganic peat, rather dirty and biting, which adds a further complexity.

P: this is a miracle: the island character equalizes the fruitiness predominance. It starts with sea-water, a subtle woody smokiness really elegant and a gentle peatiness. The explosion of the fruity side is almost simultaneous: again black fruits, strawberries and blackberries (as eating a blackberry pie after it fell into the sea…). It’s deep, with bold hints of plums and bloody oranges, but it’s also incredibly drinkable and lighthearted… Thanks to those impressive floral notes (violet) that made the distillery famous. Just before the end some spices are detectable: nutmeg and white pepper.

F: the smokier part; salt on your lips, meanwhile the mouth still enjoys ripe red and dark fruits.

It’s incredible. We’ve never experienced such a masterpiece. The elegant, mineral peatiness is sweetly combined with a gorgeous fruitiness, influenced by

excellent casks and a magic spirit, carefully integrated with oak. Everything is blended perfectly. As we said, our experience is poor, but we’ve tasted few whiskies by now: this is one of those malts you’re enchanted by, one of the reason we fell in love with this spirit. The nose is 98, palate 94: for us is 96/100, the number of a fairy tale dram. Thanks, Angelo!

Recommended soundtrack: Led Zeppelin – Dazed and Confused.

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