A. D. Rattray Vintage Cask Collection Bowmore 1996 42.8% ABV

From the A. D. Rattray Vintage Cask Collection, this bottling was distilled at Islay distillery Bowmore for 26 years in ex-bourbon barrels. NCF and NC, this release is limited to 235 bottles.

“Thanks to the Morrison family, the stories of A. D. Rattray and Bowmore will be forever entwined. This latest chapter in our long history is an enchanting Islay from the mid-90s, whisking you away to the shores of Loch Indaal for a blissfully long summer evening in paradise.”

Appearance: Light gold white wine. A hairline micro-beaded swirl mark and a viscous film that quickly ripples with many medium trails, forming a corrugated pattern around the inside of the glass.

Nose: Lovely light sweet meat smoke, blackberries and cereal. The ABV is light, which allows the aromas to shine through unencumbered.
Some vanilla wafer and honey start to emerge upon the second sniff.
Gentle caramel and maybe even a touch of kiwi or melon.
There are also very light dried leaves and earth providing another layer to the nose.
It’s a lovely balanced and soft nose.

Palate: The ABV is a little too light for my tastes. The blackberries, honey and vanilla wafer are now dusted with black pepper.
A subtle astringency legs in the background.
Green grape, cinnamon and some lemon sherbets now.
I can’t help but be reminded, upon each sip, that the flavours would be so much better if the ABV was just a tad higher, say 46%, they all seem diluted and with a spring water tinge to them.
Some wood and baking spices come into play after a while too.

Finish: Short. Gentle black pepper, honey, vanilla and traces of the berries. The astringent element, although negligible, is the last flavour on the finish.

Overall: This could be utterly sublime if it were slightly more punchy. Although the flavours are nice, there’s no ‘wow’ factor and it feels too ‘safe’. Remember, this is a £700+ bottle of whisky.

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