Bowmore 22 Year Moonlight

Scotch Whisky Review #392: Bowmore 22 Year Moonlight

Distillery: Bowmore.

Region: Islay.

Age: 22 Year. Bottled in 1995, distilled in the 1970s.

ABV: 43.0%.

Price: Sample courtesy of /u/KissmeElon

Color:1.2, Chestnut/Oloroso Sherry.

Nose: The nose is much, much boozier than the 43% stated ABV suggests it should be. Welch’s grape juice is the main note here in all of it’s sugary, dark purple goodness. Some berries come through behind the grape juice with red currants and koji berries being the stand outs.

Palate: Strangely enough, it starts with nothing. For the first few sections on the tongue, no flavor comes through and I have to swirl the liquid around to remind myself that I have, in fact, drank something. After a few seconds of swirling around though, it does start to warm up. Grapes, in many forms, are what come through the most here. There’s a note of muscat grapes that comes through first. Sherry comes in behind that. Towards the back is a more white wine-like note, sauvignon blanc is my guess.

Finish: Medium in length. Muscat grapes are the main note here. It gives way to a savory, salty, and creamy note that reminds me of cream of mushroom soup.

Conclusion: Aside from a couple of very old bottlings and one modern release for Amazon, I’ve been utterly less than impressed by Bowmore’s official bottlings. Having seen some of these not-quite-so-old bottlings float around various auction sites for tons of money, I’d been very curious how far back Bowmore’s unbelievable ability to neuter their own spirit goes. Turns out, even the mid-1990s might not be safe from this effort even with distillate from before the FWP era of the 80s. While this 22 year old Moonlight release had some redeeming points, the depth of grape flavors in the nose and palate specifically, it felt muted the whole time. While some of that probably could be fixed with a few extra percentage points of ABV, I can’t help but feel that this problem has a lot more to do with Bowmore’s vatting and cask selection practices than anything else. Shame because this could, and should, have been so much more.

Final Score: 82.

Scotch Whisky Review #392, Islay Review #64, Whisky Network Review #546

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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