Wednesday, June 19, 2013

2 New “World Wonders”: Bowmore 1996 & Bruichladdich 1992

Post by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo

The two latest releases in Whisk-e’s “World Wonders” series are out today. This time, they selected a 16yo Bowmore and a 20yo Bruichladdich, both drawn from a single hogshead and sourced from Morrison & Mackay. The artwork features two Ancient World Wonders that were located in what is now Turkey: the Temple of Diana (Artemis) at Ephesus and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus respectively.
We’ll start with the Bruichladdich (1992/2013, #2182, 49.6%abv, 173btls). It’s very light on the nose – pineapple cream cheese, syrup, lemon tart, apple sorbet and a slight ‘metallic’ note in the background. On the palate, it’s equally light – this time, you get caramel-pear bavarois, milk chocolate and apple cider. It responds well to water: on the nose, water emphasizes fresh orchard fruit notes and on the palate, it throws some persimmons into the mix. Overall, it’s got a nice, creamy mouthfeel. The finish is medium-short on underripe mango, tiramisu and chocolate-coated Acai berries.

Moving on to the Bowmore (1996/2013, #1835, 52.6%abv, 287btls). Right off the bat, it’s clear this is something very special. The balance between smoke, brine, cereal elements and fruit is just … well, perfect. There’s beach sand, shortbread, chinsuko cookies, gentle wood smoke, a hint of grilled sardines and a suggestion of passion fruit and underripe mango. The palate is really concentrated and beautifully harmonized – pretty much as per the nose but with some allspice and a touch of candied ginger added. The finish is medium-long on smoked daikon, the aftertaste of a tropical fruit cocktail and some flor de sal crystals on your lips. Water breaks the spell a bit so I wouldn’t bother – it’s perfect the way it is, really. What can I say? It’s a phenomenal Bowmore, with all the lovely aromas and flavours that you associate with top-notch Bowmore in its mid-teens, but beautifully synthesized. Nothing sticks out, yet it’s packed with flavour, and everything’s in the right place and in the right measure. There have been a few really superb independent Bowmores from the same year recently. Coincidence? I don’t know… We’ll see. In the meantime, this is one to treasure.

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