Whisky Advocate

Review: Gold Bowmore

September 23rd, 2009










Gold Bowmore, 1964 vintage, 42.4%, $6,250
Deep gold color. Surprisingly lively for its age on the nose. A complex array of fruit (tangerine, sultana, pink grapefruit, papaya and the general overall citrus DNA that you’ll find in old Bowmores), with balancing notes of honey and vanilla. A hint of damp smoke and coconut. Just like with Black Bowmore, this is a texturally soothing whisky on the palate, which continues to evolve in waves—first the sweet honey, coating vanilla and lively fruit, then turning quite visceral, with juicy oak, damp earth, deep peat smoke, and charcoal, followed by another wave of fruit (this time dried fruit), finishing off with subtle charred oak and roasted nuts. This whisky is better than White Bowmore and it falls just short of Black Bowmore (which I rated 97) because it’s just a bit softer, less vibrant on the palate.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 96

6 Responses to “Review: Gold Bowmore”

  1. John, I don’t know if this has been covered before… and it may be a silly question, but do you do anything to “prepare” yourself for these tastings? Specifically, do you do anything to cleanse your palate, get your senses ready and/or get yourself into whisky-mode?

  2. That’s an interesting question Scotch Samurai. Obvious things like avoiding strong foods like garlic and onions. Also, I try to have a big meal and drink lots of water so as to avoid the alcohol having too much of an effect. I’m interested to hear what others who have longer tenures in the industry have to say.

  3. John Hansell says:

    Guys, I don’t want to go off topic here. But it’s a good question. I’ll make a note post about this topic soon. But, to answer your question briefly: I review whiskies late morning, before lunch, or later afternoon, before dinner. Never after eating a meal. Taste buds are cleanest and most aroused before a meal. If I’m reviewing a lot of whiskies, I spit! (Although I admit to swallowing Gold Bowmore!!)

    If we can hold off drifting on to this topic (until I post about it later), I would appreciate it. Thanks.

  4. Kurt says:

    If my son is ever asked what he wants to become later, I’ll make sure to personally add your job to the list of possibilities.

    Any vacancies for a European subsidary at the magazine?

  5. […] Hansell has notes on the insanely priced Gold Bowmore.  I kind of don’t care how good it is – I’ll probably never have the opportunity […]

  6. Luke says:

    A word if advice to all reading this thread:

    My good fortune in tasting White Bowmore was due solely to attending Morrison Bowmore tastings religiously.

    In short, if the opportunity to attend ANY distillery (not necissicsarily Bowmore) tasting arises grab it with both hands! Even if the Exotic Malts aren’t wheeled out you’ll be in the company of fellow enthusiasts. Which should be a good enough reason in itself.

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