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1979 Bowmore Bicentenary Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
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- ABV 43%
Note: the wax seal has very slightly fragmented at the top, either due to some minor lifting of the cork or (what's more likely) there's cracking to one side of the wax seal surrounding the cork. The fill level is excellent as is the general bottle condition.Bottled in 1979 in celebration of the distillery's 200th anniversary, this uber-rare release is regarded by some experts as one of the best Bowmores of all time. A special vatting of whisky from ten years between 1950 and 1966, with the majority matured in sherry casks, 24,000 bottles were released for the occasion. Complete with original timber presentation case, it's a genuine piece of Islay's liquid history that will be the crown jewel in any serious collection. One only available. 43% Alc./Vol. Other reviews... Why do I try this baby again? Well, this one has a story. Until very recently, all whisky lovers I knew and even some die-hard Bowmore exegetes have been thinking that all the ‘Bicentenaries’ were from the 1964 vintage, as indeed some versions used to bear ‘1964’ on their labels. Well, it seems that little aficionados do read the blurb that’s sometimes delivered with high-end bottles, as this is what I could read in the ‘letter’ that’s to be found in the wooden box of this ‘NAS’ version: “This bottle contains a vatting of the oldest stocks in the Bowmore Distillery. Some of it was distilled in 1950, twenty-nine years ago. In fact the vatting contains whisky from ten different years between 1950 and 1966 – all very rare.” Ha-ha! Colour: dark gold. Nose: even if you know this baby well, it’s always an enchantment. What’s really striking is the complexity of it all, every time you think you’ve found a particular aroma and try to put a name on it, it’s another aroma that shows up and replaces it before you’ve found that name. That happens within quarters of seconds, it’s a true aromatic blitzkrieg. Yet, I seem to have found iodine, tangerines, creosote, mangos, motor oil, kippers, Parma ham, old tin boxes… Oh well, and hundreds of other aromas. Right dozens, let’s not brag too much. An utter classic. Mouth: first, the 43% taste like 50%, at least. In fact it’s less smooth and silky than expected, it’s even sort of brutal, with a lot of salt, pickled sardines or anchovies, then more dried fruits, prunes, sultanas, crystallised papayas, cough lozenges, more salt, honeydew, strong chestnut honey, smoked fish… And a great peppery signature, with also a little nutmeg and cumin. Excuse me, but ‘wow!’ Finish: yes, sadly (I know, the most stupid joke any taster can tell after the whisky turkey and the chef who always cooks with whisky…) Comments: seriously, it’s fabulous whisky. I know, nothing new… The peat and the salt are bigger than I remembered.
96 points - Serge Valentin, whiskyfun.com