Whisky Focus - Bowmore 23 Year Old 1989 Port Cask Matured Limited Edition

Bowmore 23 Year Old 1989 Port Cask Matured Limited Edition

20th August 2013
An outstanding limited edition Bowmore 1989 23 year old Port Cask matured whisky.

I have had this one sitting on my desk for a good few weeks now and I have resisted the urge just to throw it back and write a quick review. Given my previous very favourable experiences of older Bowmore whiskies and my soft spot for a decent Port cask matured peaty whisky which is still a quite rare expression to see especially amongst the peatier whiskies. I have been looking forward to this but I waited until I had the time to sit down and give it the time it deserves.

So what exactly is in the bottle? It is a Bowmore 23 year old single malt whisky which was distilled in 1989, 100% matured in Port Casks then bottled in 2013 at 50.8% ABV.

Having very much enjoyed a couple of bottles of the the Bowmore 21 year old 1988 Port Cask matured limited edition back in 2009 when it was released I was pleased to hear that Bowmore had released this one.

Having previously enjoyed the Bowmore 21 year old 1988 doesn't guarantee that this new 1989 limited release will be good. 100% maturation in a fortified wine cask such as a Port cask for such a long time will always have the danger that the Port will overpower the Bowmore characteristics of the whisky but in my experience Bowmore and Port casks seem to be very compatible partners, I hope that is the case here.

So what is the Bowmore 1989 23 year old like? See below for my thoughts on it.

The Bowmore 23 Year Old 1989 Port Cask Matured is a limited release of 12,000 bottles worldwide with only 120 cases available here in the UK with an RRP of 380.

You will find the current Bowmore range available from specialist online whisky retailers such as Master of Malt

Bowmore 23 Year Old 1989 Port Cask Matured Tasting Notes

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Colour: Dark rich enticing ruby red.

Nose: I could nose this for hours, Bowmore's classic mild sea-salt peatiness, some pepper and a touch of spice and a delicious port plumminess (is that a word? It is now!) from the port casks. Chocolate raisins, some toffee in there with a delicious mild Bowmore smokiness just hanging around in the background to remind us where this whisky came from.

Taste: A deliciously rich mix of fruit from both the port cask and the Bowmore whisky all coated in a delicious mild Bowmore smoke. Mild damson (plum) jam sweetness, a wee bit of spice, a bit of sea-salt.

Finish: Long! A mild slowly drying smoke and the rich plummy port fruitiness just seems to linger forever.

Comment: Loved it! The Port cask has tamed the Bowmore peatiness a little but by no means overpowered it, it has let the Bowmore fruitiness come through alongside a more subtle gentle Bowmore floral peatiness. The folks at Bowmore just seem to have a knack for selecting good port casks. I would love to see a younger more affordable Port cask matured whisky in the Bowmore core range as Bowmore and Port make a very good partnership, perhaps a annual small batch limited release like the Tempest.

This is certainly one for those with very very deep pockets, I know there is a bit of a premiumisation (I invent another word) in the single malt whisky industry at the moment due to the what seems like the ever expanding markets and demand for premium malt whisky but the price tag on this one is a bit hard to swallow but if your pockets are deep enough you wont be disappointed this is an outstanding mildly peaty port cask matured whisky.

SMW Score 93/100

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