Islay’s oldest distillery released a 19 year old hand-filled single cask for Feis Ile 2017. Matured in a first-fill Oloroso puncheon, this whisky was distilled in January 1998 and bottled on the 27th of May 2017.
People started queuing as early as 7am in front of the distillery. With only about 600 bottles available (and a questionable policy of selling 4 bottles per person), it sold out in a matter of hours. I was able to buy one in the secondary market, with a significant premium, but somehow I was triggered by the profile and a few early reviews.
Some time ago I hosted a tasting with sherry wines and sherry matured whiskies for the Glashelder whisky club. I poured this bottle and it proved to be one of the highlights of the tasting.
Bowmore 19 yo 1998 (54,3%, OB for Feis Ile 2017, first-fill Oloroso puncheon #57)
Nose: a blast of clean sherry aromas, mingling nicely with the dark and earthy peatiness. Raisins and dates, some hazelnuts , but also brighter fruity notes (grapefruit, blood orange, mango even). Hints of cola. Blackcurrants. Whiffs of coffee too. Very complex and perfectly balanced, which is not always the case with heavy sherry and peat.
Mouth: pepper, smoke, blackcurrants and Black Forest cake. Then some roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate. Still some traces of tropical fruits in the background.
Finish: long, on smoked kippers, dark brewed tea and oak spices.
The best bottling of this year’s Feis Ile, according to most who’ve been there. The mix of sherry, peat and fruits is certainly wonderful. Initially £ 130 which was a very good price. Flipping / auction price is easily € 400-450.