Bowmore 2004 / Glen Garioch 2003 (Whisky Sponge)

Bowmore 2004 / Glen Garioch 2003 (Whisky Sponge)

Decadent Drinks released a couple of stunners lately. The Springbank 1999 springs to mind of course. If you’re more into fruit bombs though, you should definitely read the rest of this article. Bowmore and Glen Garioch coming up, both very fruity albeit in a slightly different way.


Bowmore 20 yo 2004 (54,9%, Decadent Drinks ‘Islay Sponge’ 2024, refill hogshead, 183 btl.)

Nose: a lovely waxiness up front (old waxed papers). Also pebbles on a beach, kelp on warm sand and limestone. Something of mashed potatoes. After a while it becomes honeyed and fruity, with hints of pineapple, orange and mango. Very light herbal peat in the background.

Mouth: oooh, tropical fruits! Really bright passion fruits, pineapples, lychee and pink grapefruit. Almost a 1960s style, mixing Gewürztraminer and Muscat grapes. Not all fruits though: there is a (slightly bigger) peaty side with hints of iodine, coal ashes and dried herbs. Hints of creamy vanilla and more mundane citrus as well. Hints of honeycomb and vegetal oils too. Over time the salinity grows.

Finish: perhaps a little short, but nice. Slightly drying. Still a bit of the waxy fruitinss, fading on leafy notes, bonfire echoes and hints of citrus peelings.

Brilliant, this! We already knew the early 2000s produced some very fruity Bowmores and this is a prime example. I hate to inform you it seems to be sold out everywhere.



Glen Garioch 21 yo 2003 (55,4%, Decadent Drinks ‘Whisky Sponge’ 2024, first fill hogshead, 250 btl.)

Glen Garioch 2003 - Whisky Sponge Nose: another fruity one, perhaps slightly waxier than the Bowmore. Hints of papaya, banana and ripe pear, vanilla cake and oranges. Then buttery cookie dough, hints of honey and beeswax. Some lightly grassy / herbal touches in the background. Overall the wood is louder.

Mouth: this is more the creamy style of fruitiness, without the brighest top notes, if you know what I mean. Tinned pineapple, green banana and papaya, lemon candy and honey sweetness. Vanilla cream. Then some white pepper and menthol, becoming spicier again.

Finish: decent length, pleasantly dry, on citrus, ginger, fruit tea and white pepper.

A really nice Glen Garioch. Also recommended if you’re into tropical fruits, although it’s more marked by the wood. Strangely enough, this isn’t shown on the Decadent Drinks website, not even in the archive, but I assume it is sold out. Score: 90/100