A trilogy is complete at last: Bowmore’s Single Malt Scotch Whisky Vintner’s Trilogy has found its third member, Bowmore 27 Year Old Port Cask. This expression joins Bowmore 18 Year Old Double Matured Manzanilla and Bowmore 26 Year Old Wine Matured, both of which were released in November 2017. (We haven’t reviewed either of the other two expressions in the series.)
Says Bowmore: “Each whisky from this Trilogy produces a distinctly different flavor but share the unique commonality of having been matured in ex-wine casks. The third and final release of Bowmore 27 Year Old Port Cask this month marks the completion of this Trilogy with a flavor that is both complex and in line with the signature smoky Bowmore profile. This highly limited and strongly coveted expression is matured for 13 years in ex-bourbon barrels, then for 14 years in port pipes. The whisky is bottled at cask strength.”
Let’s give it a try.
Port and peat can make for a magical combination, but here something isn’t clicking at 100 percent. The nose is distinctly sweaty, with notes of horsehide, wet wool, and damp floor mop. The smoke is there, but lost in the shuffle amidst all the barnyard notes and vague hints of prune and some cinnamon. I tried it twice in separate glasses to ensure there wasn’t something lingering in the vessel.
The palate is more engaging, but more restrained than I expected. Beefy and chewy, there’s more of a Port influence here — again a bit pruny and raisiny — which mixes interestingly with the savory, meaty character on the palate. The peat smoke is also well tempered here, more briny and maritime than campfire embers, with a sweet, barbecue kick on the end. Fruit hangs on the finish — notes of grape jam, plum, and some rhubarb, with a bit of tobacco in the mix.
Ultimately, Bowmore 27 Port Cask is saved by its seductive slide into a soothing conclusion, but the nose is a bit off-putting, at least at first. Give this one some time in glass after pouring for some of the funkier notes to blow off; from there, it’s easier to enjoy the good stuff it’s got going on.
B / $520 / bowmore.com