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Black is Back


That'd be Black Bowmore. Which, as any Scotch maniac worth their peat-bog can tell you, is one of the more sought-after bottles of scotch in the world (Park Avenue Liquor in NYC has a bottle for $6,000). Black Bowmore was originally distilled in 1964, and filled into oak Oloroso sherry casks from Williams & Humbert stamped "Walnut Sherry." Evidently no one is quite certain what the folks at W&H meant by that, but regardless, the Scotch that was bottled out of them, first at 29 years old, then at 30, and then at 31 became a serious cult whiskey item. Release price was a moderate $100 at the time (1993 for the first bottling).

Enter this new edition. Same casks; same whiskey (same day of distillation, same lot, etc. etc.). This particular release came from five casks stored in Bowmore's #1 Vaults, which, chance would have it, I visited a few years ago & most likely tasted this whiskey from barrel (have to check the notes, which are securely buried in a secret location, possibly my sock drawer.) In any case, here the stuff is on US shores, securely bottled, locked into some very nifty wooden boxes, and, I do have to say, this is some mighty damn fine Scotch. Toffee-colored, with a wildly aromatic nose of peat, sour cherry and citrus, rancio, and hay, it's dense, lush and incredibly concentrated, with flavors of fruit (fig, nectarine), honey, a touch of wood resin-leather-damp forest, and ghostly peatsmoke. It's also got that incredible, elixir-like texture that some ancient Scotches get. I would happily sip it for hours in front of a fire, or not in front of a fire, or even standing on a window ledge ten stories above the ground. 

However, that is not likely to happen. And why? Oh, that'd be the retail price...a modest $4,500 a bottle. Mercy.

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