Wednesday 12 October 2022

Bowmore 1989 Port Cask Matured 23yo [Tasted #590]

As we approach 10 Years of in just over a week (and start the "Epic 10" posts from tomorrow), I've been reflecting on some transformative drams I've encountered along the way - those which, despite several years & changing preferences, I still find myself gravitating back to.

One of those is Bowmore's 23 Year Old "Port Cask Matured" from 1989. Released in 2013 as a 12,000 bottle run, this whisky fascinated me as it spent all 23 years in a port casks. Port finishes aren't all that rare, but entire maturation in Port casks (and for a full 23 years) is pretty rare for a Scotch whisky. 

I was intrigued, and (as a lover of most Port-matured whisky), my first taste in 2014 had me hooked. After trying it again at the 2015 Hong Kong launch of Bowmore Mizunara, I decided I needed a bottle, and another, and so on... (I even drank it the day my first son was born).

As whisky tends to do, it got more expensive and harder to come by, so when I bought my last bottle around 2016/2017, I just sort of held on to it...keeping it in the back of the cupboard, waiting for the "right day" to open it...

...which came along just last week, when I arranged a large 'BYOB" whisky gathering dinner (20 people, 40+ bottles...) and decided I'd bring this along. Of course the big question was, after so many years, was it as good as I remembered...?

Bowmore 1989 "Port Cask Matured" 23yo (50.8% ABV, 23yo, 1 of 12,000 bottles, Islay, Scotland)
Colour: Golden copper

Nose: Rich coffee grounds steeped in toffee, leather journals, cherry pie, with the slightest hints of sea air.

Palate: Follows the nose - creamy and rich, big berry notes, lots of plums, a hint of juicy oak. There's a slightly tangy BBQ note, but for the most part the peat smoke is fairly muted. It's the casks that take over here - but thankfully, they shine.

Finish: Long, slightly drying, with residual hints of plum (then salted plum), coffee grounds and rich cherries.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 93/100. Still the dram I remember. Still the dram I love.


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