Thursday, April 14, 2011

Whisky Review: A.D. Rattray Cask Collection: Bowmore Distillery

Single Malt
Individual Cask Bottling
Non-chill Filtered

Style/Region: Islay
Age: 14 Year
Barrel: Bourbon Oak
Distilled Date: March 27, 1996
Bottle Date: August, 4 2010
Alcohol: 59.1%

Water added: yes
Nose: smoke and peat. After water was added a sweet, briny nose comes through and the smoke and peat diminish somewhat.
Mouth Feel: thick and oily
Flavor: sweet smoke and pepper. Less smoke and peat then expected
Finish: strong and complex, peppery, brine, long lingering peat smoke

Overall Impressions: This is a very nice scotch and an excellent example of the Islay style. The smoke and peat flavors are very present, but don’t overwhelm, though they certainly linger long afterward. As with most Islay scotch, this isn’t a subtle drink, or overly complex – but I’ve come to love the strong smoke and peat flavor, possibly above all else in scotch. One of the best aspects of this drink is that it comes in full cask strength and allows me to water it down to the level I prefer. This whisky invokes a cold, damp and drizzly day with a mist hiding the surroundings – in a good way. This drink is reminiscent of my visit to Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh – that is the moment I transformed from a novice whisky drinker into a blissful addict as I chatted and sampled for over an hour (free of charge) before making a modest purchase (and it was a cold, damp and drizzly day).

A.D. Rattray is a distributer and independent bottler that takes whisky from around Scotland and bottles it directly, without watering down, dying, or chill filtration. The principle purpose of this old merchant company in modern times is to bottle unusual and exclusive casks of scotch whisky chosen to reflect the six individual whisky regions of Scotland. This is my first bottle of A.D. Rattray, and I’m very impressed. It won’t be my last. I got a couple of bottles at BevMo, and for the price, it can’t be beat.

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