White Bowmore Vs Sherriff's NAS
I often hear from collector's and whisky enthusiasts that 1960's Bowmore is THE whisky to drink, and Black Bowmore is usually on everyone's top 5 greatest of all time. Whenever I tell people I love the tropical notes from 1988-1993ish Irish Whiskey or 1976 Benriach, they usually respond with a fond memory of truly magical tropical fruit bombs from a 60's Bowmore in bourbon barrels. My first thoughts when hearing this are "I hate you" followed by "damn I need to try that."
And thus, I was determined to find some reasonably priced 60's Bowmore to finally hit the TT (tropical thunder) jackpot. Of course, I couldn't find any reasonably priced Bowmore 😂 ...but I have great friends so THANK YOU @thewhiskyinvestor for the extremely generous gift ❤️
Note I have read online that the Sherriff's Bowmore bottlings vary widely batch to batch, so take my review with a pinch of salt.
White Bowmore 1964 (43 years Old)
Bottling Date: 2008
Cask Type: Bourbon casks
# bottles: 732
Bottled for: Distillery bottling
Auction price at time of writing: ~$20,940 (not a typo!!)
Original Retail Price: ~$5000 in the US
Hubba bubba, mangoes, actually lets be specific - creamy mango lassi with some mint chopped into it, kabocha squash, grapefruit. Now the mint I might change to parsley, definitely herbal underneath the tropical notes. Slight fruity old school peat too. Halloween candy corn, kiwi and definitely some flower notes but i'm really bad at naming flowers so use your imagination. More tropical fruits (most all of them), and then a note I could only copy from Serge - green curry. Absolutely complex. Absolutely stunning. This is one to nose for hours and hours!
Wow, what a letdown for me. First note: bitterness. Then unripe graprefruit and almost none of that tropical notes that floored me from the nose. A pineapple/mango vibe start to go into the finish, cooking oil (or olive oil to be more specific), some citrus pine, baking spices I cant pin down but maybe cardamom and then that really well integrated peat that just lingers around....
Don't get me wrong, its good. But what a huge comedown from the nose. If you like the more bitter style then this would probably be in the 90's for you, but I can't get one the huge change from nose to palate.
Very creamy and mango mixed with vegetal and bitter greens, but always more bitter than sweet (in an almost well balanced way). Again, that mild peat is on the fruity side, cloying with a light smoke, but that astringent bitterness is always there and very detracting to me. Ahh I think I've pinned it down to the dill based sauce for fish an chips, plus lemon and maybe some of the fish is there too. Very complex and interesting, but I'm still sad about the nose.
Final Score = 91.7
Bowmore NAS Sherriff's Sailing Ship (70's release)
Distillery: Sherriff's Bowmore Distillery
Vintage: Likely 70's
Bottling Date: Unknown
Cask Type: Unknown
ABV: 70 proof
# bottles: not stated
Bottled for: Distillery bottling
Auction price at time of writing: ~$1880 (for the full size bottle)
Original Retail Price: Could not find
Less fruity than White Bowmore, more fermented and funky. Definitely grassy (I mowed the lawn today so I'm instantly reminded of that), some mango and pineapple here too, just not super intense. Moving on to other fruits like pear and white wine fruist...then mildly wet cardboard, which is distracting and really holds this one back. Buttered vegetables (asparagus), a lot of minerality, and finally the creamy mango comes reminds me I like it again.
Instantly fruitier than White Bowmore, and the converse of the nose. Grapefruit, some hint of the pineapples/mango, slightly herbal, then that cardboard comes back. Finally, I have to steal from Serge again and I agree with the olives. Good balance of tropical and herbal, but the cardboard detracts from greatness.
More mouth coating than White Bowmore, but also more tannic/drying. That olive brine flavor is back, along with citrus and lemon. Quite long finish on lemon/olives and light peat. I don't get any tropical notes lingering unfortunately and thus it scores an:
Final Score = 87.3
The White Bowmore overall was better, with probably the best smelling whisky I've ever tried. Unfortunately, I wanted more of a tropical explosion and personally was let down but I can definitely see why other's rate this in the 94+ zone overall. The Sherriff's was very interesting, and had flashes of greatness.
Is the White Bowmore worth $20,000+? Absolutely not but I'm so happy I got to try it!
Is the Sherriff's worth a punt at $1000+? Perhaps, and maybe you'll get lucky with an excellent batch!