Whisky Review: Bowmore Vintner’s Trilogy 27 Year Old Port Cask

, | January 23, 2019

Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by Bowmore. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.

While we waited in anticipation for the last whisky release in the Bowmore Vintner’s Trilogy, the Whiskey Wash reviewed the first two expressions. The wait was worth it as the final bottle is a Bowmore 27 Year Old Port Cask; the oldest in the trilogy. Each of the whiskies in this trilogy first aged for 13 years in ex-bourbon barrels before transferring to their final wine barrels for additional finishing and maturation; quite an exemplary experiment in whisky aging from the Bowmore distillery.

At the Bowmore near the edge of Loch Indaal on Scotland’s Islay sits an old stone warehouse, the renowned No. 1 Vaults, where the Vintner’s Trilogy is aged to perfection. The youngest in the trilogy, an 18-year-old, was finished in ex-manzanilla sherry barrels. Alongside it a 26-year-old was further matured in wine barriques.

Meanwhile, the Bowmore 27 Year Old Port Cask, which is the focus of this review, was aged 14 years in ex-port pipes to complete its double maturation. The differences each wine cask has on the Islay single malt is remarkable. 

Bowmore Vintner's Trilogy 27 Year Old Port Cask

Bowmore Vintner’s Trilogy 27 Year Old Port Cask (image via Bowmore)

Tasting Notes: Bowmore Vintner’s Trilogy 27 Year Old Port Cask

Vital Stats: 48.3% ABV. Islay single malt double matured in ex-bourbon barrels for 13 years and in ex-port pipes for 14 years. Prices over $500 USD.

Appearance: Burnt sienna/lacquered wood.

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Nose: Slight acetone with cherry hitting first. Overall, fresh cinnamon buns out of the oven; dark brown sugar mixed with cinnamon and coated with a sweet cream vanilla glaze. The port adds a nice touch of raisin even though raisins have no place in baked goods.

Palate: The dram goes from sweet to smokey and dry. The oak from the ex-bourbon casks isn’t overpowering; just enough to compliment the peat. Black cherry comes around in the middle, while a bit of salt and baking spices creep up in the background. Vanilla subdues the soft leather taste. The port’s influence is quite masterful in that it takes away any tar but leaves a nice cigar-like quality. Everything feels well balanced, but it all disappears quickly after sipping.

The Takeaway

The Bowmore Vintner’s Trilogy 27 Year Old Port Cask is flavorful and smokey. Perfect for dessert or a nightcap, this expression is very unique compared to others by Bowmore. The vanilla, though strong, is very pleasant. It may be too sweet for some whisky lovers, but overall none of the notes or flavors seem out of place. It does seem to be balanced...must be the magic of the No. 1 Vaults. The only downfall is the short finish. I found myself having to sip incessantly to hold onto the flavor. Before I knew it my glass was empty.

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Courtney Kristjana

Courtney Kristjana is a leading whiskey taster in the country. She left a career in Gerontology after an article on Heather Greene inspired her to follow her passion for whiskey. She is studying to become a Master of Scotch and someday hopes she is nominated for the Keepers of the...