Bowmore Bicentenary (1964)

Scotch Whisky Review #460: Bowmore Bicentenary (1964)

Distillery: Bowmore.

Region: Islay.

Age: Distilled in 1964, bottled in 1979. As I understand, this is bottle is from the original batch of releases and not one of the subsequent ones.

ABV: 43.00%.

Price: $160/oz. Tasted side by side with some of /u/KissMeElon‘s Bowmore 1969.

Color: 1.2, Chestnut/Oloroso Sherry.

Nose: (according to the wife) Quite fruity with dates, figs, and jujubes. (according to me) It’s everything that the 1969 Bowmore is but dialed up to 100. It’s got the musty-fruity-funky combination going on with black currant/Ribena, musty old bookshelves, dunnage warehouse, and a balsamic reduction. There’s a few vegetable notes as well in the form of a wild garlic, Daikon radish, and eucalyptus. A smidge of dark chocolate and cinnamon make appearances here and there. Overall it is just amazing.

Palate: Much like the nose is, the palate is very similar to the 1969 Bowmore. It is quite muted at first, perhaps expected for a whisky that’s sat in a bottle for over 40 years, but a few drops of water do get it going though. It is nice and sherry forward with a mix of fruitier notes along with some more floral tea ones. Strawberry jam and hibiscus tea do come to mind. Some of the musty-funky notes from the nose also make their way in.

Finish: Medium in length. There is some charred oak and some rambutan.

Conclusion: There probably aren’t many bottles more legendary than this little wonky looking number from Bowmore. Bottled in celebration of the distillery’s 200th anniversary, the Bowmore Bicentenary is one I’ve wanted try so when an opportunity to try some at a relative bargain came around I couldn’t say no. I have to say, this lived up to the expectation. The nose was incredible (my notes literally say “Oh. My. God.”), a beautiful mix of fruity, funky, fresh, and musty notes, and it was so intense as well. The palate was great, with a great balance between flora, fruit, and a bit of funky. The finish is perhaps the most simple part of this but it certainly gave this dram another element and a wonderful sign off. 1960s Bowmore has a reputation for being excellent and this certainly lived up to the billing. I doubt I could bring myself to buy a bottle, given the prices it goes for, but it certainly will be near the top of the “if I win the lottery” list.

Final Score: 97.

Scotch Whisky Review #460, Islay Review #78, Whisky Network Review #617

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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