Bowmore for Shinanoya “The Moon” 16 Year Sherry Butt (1997)

Scotch Whisky Review #453: Bowmore for Shinanoya “The Moon” 16 Year Sherry Butt (1997)

Distillery: Bowmore.

Region: Islay.

Age: 16 Year. Distilled on April 30th 1997 and bottled in June 26th 2013.

ABV: 56.2%. Cask Strength

Cask Type: Sherry Butt.

Cask Number: 900017.

Price: £195 at Auction.

Color: 1.2, Chestnut / Oloroso Sherry.

Nose: This has certainly spent a lot of time in a sherry cask. The first notes that come spilling out are of a very rich sherry. A bit of earthiness, somewhere between very damp dark soil and damp coffee grounds, comes following the sherry. Some fruitier notes after the earth in the form of green apple syrup, lychee jelly, and peach flavored soju. There’s also a very crisp and clean “finish” to the nose, so to speak. Towards the end is a very crisp/clean note of spring water.

Palate: A lot smokier than expected and it is quite a dirty smoke as well. It something like the way your mouth feels after sitting in full cigar parlor fit a bit and sitting behind some big truck “rolling coal”. Much like the nose suggests there is loads of sherry with a lot of the earthier notes of dark soil and coffee grounds. It is very easy to drink at full strength and doesn’t feel like it needs water. A few drops of water does, however, clean up a lot of the dirty smoke notes and allows fruity notes come and join the sherry and earth. Something that reminds me a lot of a fruit cocktail cup with pineapple pieces, cherry, kiwi, strawberry, peach, and bit of citrus pops in. After adding a touch more water, some subtle floral notes come through. It is almost like potpourri that’s been burnt and is now smoldering. The floral notes certainly are subtle and additive to the dram rather than overpowering and detracting.

Finish: Long. More of the dirty smoke and sherry which is joined by some charred grilled fruit notes – perhaps charred lemon or pineapple.

Conclusion: I have a penchant for Bowmore in sherry casks and this bottling for the Japanese retailer Shinanoya was one I was really excited to get into. I’ve heard that Shinanoya has some fantastic cask selections and this one did not disappoint in the slightest. While it is a lot more industrial than expected, especially with the dirty smoke notes that dominate the palate at full strength, this Bowmore delivers a wonderfully delicious and balanced flavor profile. You get sherry and fruit offset by a wonderful earthiness with a tinge of floral notes to clean things up a bit. Overall, fantastic and I’m left wanting to try the sister bottle “The Sun”.

Final Score: 95.

Scotch Whisky Review #453, Islay Review #75, Whisky Network Review #610

Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky and I will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection if feasible.
  • 85-89: Very good to amazing, almost the complete product and I’m likely wanting a bottle or two.
  • 80-84: Quite good, pleasant overall though there is usually a few things that could be improved still.
  • 75-79: Good, enjoyable to drink but ultimately flawed.
  • 70-74: Alright, solid and 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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