The Good Life

Bowmore 25-year-old Single Malt

By Jack Bettridge | From Emeril Lagasse, Sept/Oct 2005
Bowmore 25-year-old Single Malt

If you follow whisky competitions, you might have noticed Bowmore 25-year-old single-malt Scotch becoming the darling of professional tasters with a spate of awards from a number of sources. So, how did this already very good malt suddenly elbow its way to the best seat at the bar? The short answer is it lied about its age.

No, it wasn't marketing trickery, but a bit of serendipity for whisky drinkers as a result of Bowmore's discontinuation of it excellent 30-year-old. When demand outstripped supply of whisky of that age, the company decided it didn't have enough to keep offering it. Older whisky still existed, but not enough to bottle regularly. So Bowmore decided to use it to enrich its 25-year-old. Scotch regulations state that the youngest whisky in the bottle defines its age, so even though spirits from casks over 30 are now making it into the mix, it is still called a 25. And the price remains a relative bargain at $159.95 a bottle.

"Thirty years ago, no one had any idea how big single malts would become," says Fergus Hartley, vice president of sales and marketing for North America, explaining a distiller's responsibility to make new spirit based on forecasts of whisky demand decades into the future. "It's very hard," he allows.

Another challenge was to match the house style in creating the new 25-year-old. Hartley describes the profile as a complex and rich, mellow whisky that still smacks of the Islay region's signature smoke and brine. At issue was that a higher percentage of the older whisky had been aged in barrels formerly used for Sherry, not Bourbon.

The new version appears fairly similar to the old, if a tad darker and with broader legs. It's on the nose that the change becomes more evident. The new version has the honey and hard-candy aromas of the old, but adds floral and orange peel notes. A pronounced sweetness, with candied, fruity notes, explodes on the palate. Then all the nutty chewiness and Christmas pudding flavor of the old version arrive, as if as a gesture of reassurance. If some might bemoan the changes, they would be lovers of strong peat flavors. The characteristic Islay smoke and sea flavors remain, but are dialed back a bit due to the extra age and the higher Sherry quotient. It is a small price to pay.

Visit www.bowmorescotch.com.

Drink Good Life Guide

More in The Good Life

See all
Baseball At 150: Five Problems

Baseball At 150: Five Problems

Major league baseball turned 150 years old this year. But the game is far from perfect.

Oct 15, 2019
Smoke The Cigar of the Year for a Good Cause

Smoke The Cigar of the Year for a Good Cause

Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, the maker of Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar of the Year, will be in New York City …

Sep 24, 2019
Babe Ruth Sets Yet Another Record With $5.6 Million Jersey Sale

Babe Ruth Sets Yet Another Record With $5.6 Million Jersey Sale

Babe Ruth's New York Yankees road jersey, dated between 1928 and 1930, sold at auction for $5.64 …

Aug 22, 2019
Car-Themed Watch Auction For Monterey Car Week

Car-Themed Watch Auction For Monterey Car Week

Bidding for Watches Online: The Driver’s Collection will open on August 14 and run through August 20.

Aug 14, 2019
End-of-Summer Mixing With Vodka

End-of-Summer Mixing With Vodka

Mixing it up with vodka.

Jul 2, 2019
Dukes Hotel: The World’s Best Martini?

Dukes Hotel: The World’s Best Martini?

A look at how the bar inside Dukes Hotel crafts its signature Martini.

Jun 28, 2019