SMWS 46.40, Glenlossie, Sweet, fruity and aromatic, 23 years old, 54.5% A⊕
17th November 1992, 264 bottles, refill bourbon
Nose - Very sweet and fruity indeed, and more solventy than aromatic. Immediately I'm hit with marker pens and tippex thinners but that rapidly develops into Orangeade, musk and zesty cask notes. There's a background meatiness, and an almost burnt sugar thing going on here too. Much more fruit with water, and a deeper maturity from the cask.
Body - Beer, cloudy lemonade, roasted lemon shells and toffee pennies - quite a crowded but very pleasant arrival. Water separates things out a bit and the whole whisky starts to make proper sense, with lots more orange, floral notes and more masculine musk and spice.
Finish - Long and nutty, orange zest and juice developing into fruit cake and royal icing. That orange and nut thing is really lovely.
I have something of a bias against Glenlossie (which is of course what the numbering system is meant to remove) but this really is quite lovely. Beautiful fruit, lots of complex musk and wood tones and lovely to drink too. Recommended.
SMWS 3.269, Bowmore, Smoked slippers at the beach, 19 years old, 57.9% A+
27th March 1996, 252 bottles, refill bourbon
Nose - Dusty dark chocolate, the fading lemon peat of young Islay and the approaching orange and chocolate wax and dust of mature Islay - Bowmore on the turn. A touch of refreshers, but more travel sweets. Younger but less intense with water.
Body - First the fruit - orange sweets (orange fruit polos perhaps), neat orange barley squash. Then a slow, building explosion of peat, a bit like a cinnamon jawbreaker. Delicious with water, the fruit intensifies and steps up with the peat. Feels more like a first fill bourbon.
Finish - Long and cinnamon hot, with lemon herbal tea and warm Chardonnay at the end.
A really interesting Bowmore this, right on the cusp of venerable and I'm not used to trying it at this age in bourbon. The overall feel is of tantalising maturity but with a real punch of peat to it.
SMWS 53.238, Caol Ila, A wee two-faced devil, 15 years old, 57% A
7th December 2000, 234 bottles, refill bourbon
Nose - A classic mid-teens society Caol Ila, with salt and vinegar crisps, lemon juice over crushed shells and caramel. Subtle mineral and metallic tones work well with the austere but chewy oak. There's a touch of the white wine cask in here too. Classic stood-at-the-bar stuff.
Body - Zesty, slightly bitter, rolling peat. A touch of earth, split dandelion stalks (you know how they smell) and a little gunpowder retronasally. Spicier with water.
Finish - More Walkers S&V. Quite short, but longer with water and slightly more bitter.
A competent but uneventful drammer, good background drinking for a conversation.