[April, 2017] It is a very special day today - it is monday!!! Last night I had a fabulous charity tasting at Limburg with the second oldest whiskies I ever tried: Two ceramic decanters released by Andrew Usher & Co Distillers Edinburgh on the occasion of the "Coronation of King George Vth & Queen Mary June 22nd, 1911" - so the whisky was distilled before 1908 (more than hundert years ago). For Angus' tasting notes see http://www.whiskyfun.com/.In that tasting setting there was a 1957 Bowmore https://www.whiskybase.com/whisky/7701/1957-hb that I adore so I think it is a good opportunity to check it against this legendary Black Bowmore (BB). Unfortunately my last sample...Colour: The BB is of brown sherry while the 57 is about four shades paler at tawny.Texture: The 57 shows a few slow legs and fat tears while the BB has many fast legs and very few late tears.Nose: The BB offers a very rich and bold sherry driven profile (raisins, coffee beans, chocolate...) with only a few tropical fruity aromas (mangos, passion fruits). The 57 is rather subtle and delicate on sherry and a lot more of fruits (blackcurrants, passion fruits, mango, mirabelle, oranges). Some hints of smoke here that are harder to find in the BB. I find the 57 more balanced and of greater complexity while the BB is heavier and more rich. So everyone choose what he/she prefers - I like the more delicate and complex 1957 a little better.Arrival: The 57 comes very smooth and rather gentle (if not shy) to the mouth with a slight peppery and woody note in the end. Nevertheless it is mouth-coating and even chewy. The BB arrives bold and rich - it instantly coats all of the mouth. So this round wins the BB. Body: The BB shows a very rich and complex profile on dried tropical fruits and chocolate, very delicious. Some toffee flavours too and even hints of peaty aromas. Yes it comes in different layers that are peeled one after the other by the tastebuds. Same with the 57: A highly layered taste too, maybe even some layers more. Especially at the end there is a (almost funny) little fruity explosion again, as if it will set a highlight for the finish. Nevertheless the 57 is not as rich as the BB but very balanced on sweet, fruity and slightly peaty flavours. I call this harmony and vote for a draw...Finish: The 57's finish is of medium length and adds some spicy flavours (among them surprisingly a little saltiness) as well as milk chocolate to its already impressive profile. But it is a little weakish in terms of overall strength. Contrary to this the BB's finish is longer and richer but with some bitter notes (tannins) in the end (not unpleasantly). It comes in several nice waves too and I like it better than the flatter 57's.
As I thought this might be a sacrilege to the beauty of these drams I did not add any water to both. So after counting all scores the two drams are at eye-level to each other and it is up to the individual taste which one to prefer in a certain situation - the rather subtle, delicate and full-of-harmony 1957 or the rich, powerful and complex Black Bowmore. A very convenient result as I can declare a draw ;-) - I swear it is not manipulated...
(The price score relates to the initial price tag of 300 Deutschmarks back in 1993 (150 Euros) as usual with all my ratings).
But what dram can you taste after such a pairing that has a fair chance to beat the both? My best guess is... https://www.whiskybase.com/whisky/83450/brora-15th-release