Bowmore isn’t my favorite distillery by a long stretch, but any given single cask can be utterly beautiful. I was keen to taste this one because when the team at Douglas Laing, headed by Fred, choose casks to bottle in the XOP range, they really pick winners every time.
XOP stands for Xtra Old Particular, and is the high end bottling range of Douglas Laing. This range used to be called ‘Director’s Cut’, but as I have written in previous posts, the company is amidst a move concentrating the brands a few basic umbrella brands, which explains the move from Director’s Cut to XOP and all the branding work done around the ‘Remarkable Regional Malts’ series encompassing the vatted malts series currently comprised of Highland, Speyside, Islay and Island malt blends (vatted malts).
As always, this cask delivers, and this is a complex and rewarding dram.
Douglas Laing XOP 1989 Bowmore 25 Year Old, Refill Hogshead DL10581, Outturn of 576 Bottles (55.1% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Pale yellow, quick legs with a necklace that remains on in the glass.
Nose: Smoke, damp peat, very clean, perfume-y (in a good way, not FWP), salty and grassy. A peated Lowlander? Well, no. With time, the Bowmoreness comes through with the typical notes and with a citrus bitterness.
Palate: Honey and peat, with a very floral spiciness and a hit of more honey and pepper. The nose promised some bitterness but there’s peaty floral spice that borders on sweetness.
Linger: Peat in the mouth, spice down the gullet, the peat is really long on the finish, and this is a very warming dram.
This is a very complex dram from a beautiful cask. A very maritime Bowmore.