Douglas Laing has an impressive range of bottlings: Old Malt Cask, McGibbons Provenance, Old & Rare, Premier Barrel… They also have a tradition of bottling smaller 20cl samples, both as advanced OMC samples and Cigar Malt Selection. Most of the OMC samples are later bottled in 70cl versions, whereas most of the Cigar Malts are not available as full bottles. This particular release is an exception, as I’ve now spotted it at Brussels Airport as a standard 70cl bottle (354 bottles – same style as the OMC packaging with a cigar on the label). The 20cl bottles are a nice way of trying out different malts without braking the bank.
This Bowmore stayed in a refill hogshead for 9 years. The bottle only mentions the age, not the year of distillation. My purchase ticket did say 1997 however, so I guess the store had extra information or simply made a quick calculation.
Bowmore 9y 1997 (50%, DL OMC ‘The Cigar Malt’ 2007, 20cl)
Attractive nose: immediate sea associations (seaweed, fish oils) and quite vegetal and earthy. As the label says: “rather smoky”. The peat smoke is gently integrated with some sweeter (honeyed) and floral notes (but nothing like the floral / soapy notes that are common for 80’s Bowmores). Good!
Mouth: creamy and full of youth. Peaty attack. Evolves on spicy pepper. Again some sweeter notes.
Finish: the chocolate sweetness slowly turns into dryness and salt. Still some peat smoke. Medium length.
Overall a clean and confident malt. It confirms once more that Bowmore is producing good whisky lately, and that it doesn’t always need lengthy aging to have character. Around € 20 (20cl) – good value.