Bowmore 19 Year French Oak Barrique

Scotch Whisky Review #361: Bowmore 19 Year French Oak Barrique

Distillery: Bowmore.

Region: Islay.

Age: 19 Year. Bottled in 2018.

ABV: 48.9%.

Cask Type: 1st Fill Ex-Château Lagrange French oak barriques.

Cost: $16 for an 1 oz pour.

Color: 1.5, Auburn/Polished Mahogany.

Nose: It is rather smokey from the start, it’s a sweeter smoke more akin to barbecue. There’s a sweet and umami element to this, somewhere between barbecue sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Red wine and red currant bring some fruit as well.

Palate: It starts rather sweet, touch of fruit and malt, before the smoke rolls in. Barbecued meat notes come through galore in burnt ends and a well seared steak. What it reminded me most of is a seared prime rib I like to have at a local steakhouse on special occasions. The mouthfeel is a touch thin, but the flavor is absolutely there. With a drop of water, those smoked/charred beef notes just overtake everything.

Finish: Medium in length. Sweet barbecue smoke. A bit of tannins and some more of those seared meats.

Conclusion: I’ve panned modern official bottlings of Bowmore time and time again and yet I couldn’t help myself but want to try this release. Maybe it was because of how well French Oak casks seem to do with other Islay whiskies, maybe it was because I’m still holding out some hope that Bowmore can rediscover their magic of old. Whatever the reason, I’m glad to have tried this. It is, simply put, delicious. Yes it has some flaws, largely with the mouthfeel, but for once Bowmore delivers a powerful punch of flavor. The nose teases you’re going to the magical land of barbecued meats and the rest of the whisky absolutely delivers on that. The wine notes that come in here and there pair absolutely well with the meatier notes giving the overall experience of a delicious steak dinner in a glass. Well done to the folks at Bowmore, now please just do this more often!

Final Score: 85.

Scotch Whisky Review #362, Islay Review #57, Whisky Network Review #513

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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