A.D. Rattray Bowmore 17 Year Sherry Cask (1991)

Scotch Whisky Review #326: A.D. Rattray Bowmore 17 Year Sherry Cask (1991)

Distillery: Bowmore.

Bottler: A.D. Rattray.

Region: Islay.

Age: 17 Year. Distilled on July 15th, 1991. Bottled on June 30th, 2009.

ABV: 58.1%.

Cask Type: Sherry.

Cask Number: #2058.

Color: 1.7, Burnt Umber.

Nose: It’s got the amazing Bowmore mustiness that just rushes out as soon as you pour this. Bits of old dusty books, a hint of Ribena, and loads of old leather furniture are the strongest note. Some notes sherry, leather polish, and raisins also come through.

Palate: At full strength, it’s a sherry bomb for sure. Loads of sherry. There’s a lot of oak that comes with it that touches on the side of “too much” for me. Thankfully, with a splash of water, the oak seems to vanish. The sherry notes lighten up a bit with some leather polish coming through. With a touch more water, you get a strong note of molasses/shoofly pie. You can almost feel the slightly gritty molasses filling and you can absolutely taste the pie crust crumble.

Finish: Rather long in length and one that’ll live in the memory for a while. The peat in this whisky has finally woken up. It’s not overpowering, but definitely shows it’s presence. There’s a light smokiness that adds another level of flavor along with some meatiness. It’s almost like having a buttery dinner biscuit that has been absolutely soaked in the leftover juices of a nicely seared steak. Sherry comes through to help keep things from getting too overpowering. With water, the meatiness does lighten up some more with more of the sherry coming through.

Conclusion: The more sherried Bowmore I have, the more I’m convinced that it is simply the best way to have Bowmore. The nose is full of this amazing mustiness that I’ve only had in a few Bowmores. It’s intoxicating and you just want to sit there smelling it nonstop. The palate is right up my alley. It starts as an absolute sherry bomb and then transforms into this delicious molasses-based dessert pie with the addition of some water. Impressive is the only word that comes to mind for the finish. The juicy, meaty biscuit note was phenomenal and honestly it makes me hungry writing about it. Would I buy a bottle? Probably more than one.

Final Score: 91.

Scotch Whisky Review #326, Islay Review #50, Whisky Network Review #471

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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