Today I have number 3.243 from the SMWS in front of me, a Bowmore 1997 that also goes by the name Dark, smouldering, flamenco gypsy… Or just number 3.243. It was a sample I received from my friend Ralf, who spoiled me with some nice Islay drams. This Bowmore is the first one I’ll be reviewing, but the others will follow soon.

This Bowmore was bottled a few years ago, namely in 2015, especially for Feis Ile. The SMWS then hosted its own open day during the festival, so a festival bottling was inevitable. In addition, it was available to everyone at the time, so non-members also had a chance to buy it (although it was much cheaper for members).

This Bowmore has matured in a refill ex-sherry butt and was bottled at 57.1% ABV.

Bowmore 1997 tasting notes:

NOSE: very much in love with this nose. There is bonfire smoke, and honey-glazed bacon. A pinch of sea salt. But also dark chocolate and cinnamon. A leathery note and it’s a bit earthy too. Fresh plums. Earl Grey tea and hazelnuts in the back.

TASTE: a smouldering campfire and somewhat ashy. Fresh plums. Dark chocolate. Oranges and a hint of apricots. Hazelnuts. Cinnamon again, but also cloves and a pinch of black pepper.

FINISH: long with more of that campfire coming through. A hint of liquorice, cocoa and oak spices, but also a note of those fresh plums again.

Just simply delicious! It’s rich, it’s bold and heavy. The lovely sherry notes work so well here. This would do perfectly well on a cold or rainy day. Oh, who am I kidding, I could taste this any day! 😉

Many thanks to Ralf for the more than generous sample!

Photo credit: Whiskybase