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Bowmore debuts 30 years old limited annual release

3 big events happened in the year 1989. Sir Tim Berners-Lee laid out his paper disclosing his invention of the World Wide Web. A wave of revolutions swept through the Eastern Bloc in Europe and culminated in the fall of the Berlin Wall. Most importantly though, Bowmore Distillery set aside some spirit for maturation earmarked to be bottled in batches from the year 2021 onwards.

Bowmore 30 Years Old Limited Annual Release(Image Source: Bowmore Distillery)

This year, we will get to sip the first batch of this lovely spirit (provided that we are rich enough). Bowmore has unveiled this new limited edition 30 Years Old single malt expression that it intends to further release annually. Reflecting its connection to the coastal region of Islay, the beautiful packaging draws inspiration from driftwood details, while the polished bottle draws inspiration from polished sea glass.

This expression is distilled the same time the Berlin Wall was torn down (Image Source: Georgetown University)

Bowmore is the first distillery to be licensed on Islay in 1779 and is known for very smoky, briny, rich and sweet whiskies. This new and rare expression is matured for three decades in Bowmore’s best ex-Sherry hogsheads and ex-Bourbon casks, from which Bowmore would select 2 casks every year. The bottled product certainly has a complex story to tell after such a long duration of maturation.  

By adding an ongoing 30 Year Old Bowmore to the portfolio, we are able to showcase how vital the length of time spent in casks shapes and influences our spirit, making it even more exceptional and full of character,” said David Turner, the distillery’s manager 

I could go on to wax lyrical about how every drop of this 30 YO expression is shaped and crafted by time and emphasise on how aged this whisky is. But I am struggling to reconcile the idea that 30 years is a long time with my belief that I am still young as I approach 30 years of age.

 (Source: Twitter user @danielleweisber)

This one is bottled at “cask strength” of 45.3% ABV – which raises some eyebrows (cask strength whiskies are usually 50-60% ABV). However, in the present case, 30 years of maturation in porous wooden casks would have caused a fair deal of alcohol and water to evaporate in what is also known as the “Angel’s Share”. This phenomenon occurs during the maturation process to smoothen the liquid, and can reduce an almost undrinkable, high-proof moonshine spirit into a soft and smooth whisky.

Just some angels claiming their share of whisky (Image Source: Jooce Garrett)

We have received word that the tasting notes would be as follows:

Colour: Burnished gold 

Nose: Heather honey, bananas and peaches, with pineapple, vanilla and butterscotch 

Taste: Very rich, well rounded with tropical fruits, honey sweetness, subtle aromatic peat smoke and hints of eucalyptus 

Finish: Mouth warming, with ripe fruits and smoke lingering on the tongue

This expression would be released soon but with only 2,580 bottles worldwide and a US$2,600 price tag, we would have to give this a pass. We are however very interested to hear your thoughts on this expression if you are wealthy enough to get your hands on and open one. Your tasting notes would be greatly appreciated by the 88 Bamboo community.