Bowmore 34 Year (1971)

Scotch Whisky Review #267: Bowmore 34 Year (1971)

Distillery: Bowmore

Region: Islay

Age: 30. Distilled in 1973 and bottled in 2003.

Cask Type: Sherry

ABV: 51.00%

Price: Pour courtesy of /u/KissMeElon, bottle originally from Dundee Dell in Omaha, NE which has sadly since closed.

Color: 1.7, Burnt Umber.

Nose: Both this, and the 1969 Bowmore pictured next to it, have this incredibly lovely note that neither /u/KissMeElon or I could quite figure out. It’s slightly musty, but also full of rich fruity flavor. The note is less pronounced on this than the other Bowmore but it is absolutely divine and I didn’t want to move my nose on to other things. The closest things I can think of are Ribena/blackcurrant drink and a bit of ice wine with a side of funk and must. Mixed aromatic herbs wrap this up.

Palate: It is very sherry forward, though I suppose 34 years in a sherry cask would do that. It isn’t sweet, but carries more of the deep and tangier notes of sherry. Oak does come through significantly to keep things in balance. Menthol and some other aromatics wrap things up with a touch of blackcurrant jam.

Finish: Fantastically long. More oak and more sherry. There’s some sweet cigar smoke towards the very end.

Conclusion: /u/KissMeElon graciously shared a few of his bottles from the old Dundee Dell (a dive bar originally ran by a scotch enthusiast that has since closed and due to reopen under new owners) in Omaha. This Bowmore was one of two we tasted. The nose on this, despite paling in comparison to it’s older brother, was absolutely phenomenal. I don’t know if it is a byproduct of that era of Bowmore, a result of the bar it was in, or a combination of the two, but that musty-funky-fruity combination just hits all of the right notes for me. The rest of the whisky was quite nice as well–very sherry-centric with some fruit, menthol, and tobacco to keep things interesting–but the nose is what really makes this special.

Final Score: 87.

Scotch Whisky Review #267, Islay Review #39, Whisky Network Review #411

Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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