Bowmore 2003 (Whisky Sponge)

Bowmore 2003 (Whisky Sponge)

Decadent Drinks already had a similar Bowmore ‘Guaranteed 17 Years Old’ last year and now presents a sibling cask. This is an 18 year old Bowmore selected from the Signatory Vintage stocks. A few years ago its maturation was ‘broken’ by spending some time out of cask. It was put back into a different refill sherry butt to continue maturing. Hence the age being 18 years old.

It’s safe to say Bowmore 2003 quickly made a name for itself. The first independent bottlings we tried around 2013-2014 were already on a high level. Back then they reminded us of the equally impressive 1993 vintage. Recent bottlings were raising the bar even further.

This is the last cask of this parcel, so it’s probably the last Bowmore for quite a long time in the Whisky Sponge series.


Bowmore ‘Guaranteed 18 Years Old’ 2003 (55,3%, Decadent Drinks 2023, refill sherry butt v03, 629 btl.)

Nose: an initial blast of menthol and sea spray, followed by dry and ashy peat. Hints of iodine and lemons. It takes a while before grapefruits, tangerines and other bright fruits appear. Then back to spearmint and eucalyptus, always showing a sensual sweetness in the background.

Mouth: still fairly salty and coastal, with liquorice and charcoal. Then the tropical fruits come out, like papaya and lime. A subtle honeyed sweetness. Dry leathery notes, as well as chalky notes and minerals, with tiny herbal drops.

Finish: quite long, with a leathery dryness and minerals, as well as a vague pineapple sweetness.

A really good, modern Bowmore again. The maritime character takes the lead here, overtaking the tropical fruits. The sherry influence is rather subdued as well. Still available from Decadent Drinks or partner shops like Master of Malt and Whisky-Maniac.


As a side note, last Saturday the Whisky Sponge himself, Angus MacRaild announced Kythe Distillery together with business partners Aaron Chan and Jonny McMillan. Their sole purpose is to pursue an old-style Highlands whisky character. Kythe will fill around 250 casks per year, with production planned for late 2024. Long fermentation, local barley strains, true direct wood firing… it certainly ticks a lot of checkboxes for a beautifully waxy style. Keep an eye on