For now this 25 year old Bowmore 1987 is the diamond on the crown of the new Old Particular range by Douglas Laing. Wait, what’s that sound? Right, my 1980’s Bowmore alarm went off.
Bowmore 25 yo 1987 (50,2%, Douglas Laing Old Particular 2013, refill hogshead, 234 btl.)
Nose: a very creamy profile, with strawberry sweets and some goji berry notes. A lot of sweet barley with relatively subtle smoke and brine. Some oranges and lemon. Some floral notes too, but not the perfumy style. Really okay so far.
Mouth: soap, soap, soap. Also lavender and parma violets. I won’t make an effort to pick up other flavours – soap is one of these total blockers. Peppered soap with hints of perfume.
The tasting notes on the label say:
Parma Violets in the mouth (typical for old Bowmore)
They’re pretty honest about it, but the fact that most Bowmores from this era have it (here’s a 1983 version), doesn’t make it a feature. Just to get this straight: it’s not typical for old Bowmore, it’s only typical for the period between +/- 1981 and 1988. It’s also found in Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch, coincidently all part of the Morrisson Bowmore group. Really old Bowmore is totally different and sometimes utterly fantastic.
This soapy Bowmore is a style on its own and I’m allergic to it. Like sulphur though, not everyone will be sensible, some will even like it. Mind that it’s not representative for the overall quality of the Old Particular range. Around € 320 – better wait for the interesting Port Ellen that is also in the pipeline.