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Scotch Whisky Legends: Bowmore 1966 Samaroli Bouquet

The Bowmore 1966 Samaroli Bouquet. Credit: Whisky Auctioneer

WhiskyFun is perhaps the most famous whisky-tasting site in the world. Whisky connoisseur and whisky lover Serge Valentin records his ratings on thousands of whiskies, with the help of expert taster, Angus MacRaild.

Despite the high volume of whiskies being sampled, Serge and Angus undoubtedly have their favorites or ‘winners’ as they have affectionately named them. These are whiskies that have been awarded over 90 points.

One such winner, with an amazing score of 98 points at its most recent tasting, is the iconic Bowmore 1966 Samaroli Bouquet.

Read the previous installments of Scotch Whisky Legends here.

The Bowmore 1966 Samaroli Bouquet

This legendary whisky is often referred to as the best Bowmore in existence, with whisky lovers across the world singing its praises.

The Bouquet was created by Samaroli. This Italian independent bottling company was founded by the late, great Silvano Samaroli in 1968. Samaroli was known and loved for his championing of cask strength, vintage scotch whisky at a time when blends ruled the market. As such, Samaroli was always seeking unique and spectacular casks to bottle and present to the world.

Samaroli is a highly respected independent bottler.

R.W. Duthie bottled the Bowmore in 1984 at a strength of 53% ABV. Samaroli released just 720 bottles and they have become the rarest of treasures on the secondary market.

The labels for the Samaroli Flowers were designed by Samaroli himself, including the Bowmore Bouquet. Therefore, personal touch is evident on each of the bottles and in each dram of the whisky.

You can read more about the fascinating history of Samaroli here.

Angus MacRaild’s Tasting Notes On The Bowmore 1966 Samaroli Bouquet

Angus MacRaild most recently sampled the Bowmore 1966 Samaroli Bouquet in January 2020. It is safe to say that Angus fell head over heels for this Bowmore, saying:

“What can you say about this bottling that hasn’t already been gushed by myself and many others elsewhere. I’ll simply re-state my own feelings: that this is a significant and important bottling. It fused very deliberate and brilliant cask selection by Mr Samaroli, clearly considered bottling choices (the choice to do it at cask strength for example) and captivating label artwork that alluded in distinct aesthetic style to the character of the whisky within. I would also add that this is the first time that I, or any of my whisky pals that I’m aware of, are tasting this whisky against some of its fellow legends. It will be interesting to see if it can stand its ground against the formidable Largiemeanoch… 

“Colour: light gold. 

“Nose: there is fruit and there is fruit. This is the every inch the latter, and precisely why this whisky sits apart from almost all others. I will try not to go on, but there is a level of specificity, intensity and clarity about the tropical fruit notes here that is hard to articulate. It truly is a whisky which stops you dead and seizes total control; which you cede happily. Exotic, flawless, sublime, chiseled, fathoms deep and, at the end of the day, just utterly sublime giving you the impression that the whole thing is effortless. There are other tertiary characters that you could go into – farmyard, earthy, umami note – but I’ll write a novel if I don’t resist. With water: euphoric. Better than being on drugs. 

“Mouth: This is where I start to run out of words. I will simply say that it is a mix of exotic fruit freshness and power wrapped around a kind of trembling mineral structure which is just otherworldly. This is definition of real perfection in whisky – where you are just stopped dead and cannot really find the words to describe your way out of it. With water: It is still broadly about fruit, but there is just so much else. This is a whisky that takes the definitions of ‘tertiary’ and ‘complex’ to their absolute extremes. F[**]k it, call the anti-maltoporn brigade! 

“Finish: as long and deep as you might imagine. But what is so striking is that it does not wander or meander randomly. You still feel so utterly controlled and in the grip of a whisky that is just irrefutably in control and moving and developing with purpose and genius precision. 

“Comments: I have tried this whisky twice before but never recorded proper notes. In the back of my mind I had kind of expected to score it 97 but I am afraid to say I am left totally reeling by this utterly spellbinding whisky.

“SGP: 767 – 98 points.” Angus MacRaild, WhiskyFun.com, 2020

The whisky is the joint highest-rated on WhiskyFun, with the Laphroaig 1967 15 Year Old Samaroli sharing the top spot.

The Price of Bowmore Bouquet

When the Bowmore Bouquet appears at auction, whisky connoisseurs battle for ownership of this legendary bottle. Therefore, auction hammer prices often reach dizzying heights.

The bottle is also very scarce on the secondary market. As of the time of writing, fewer than 20 of these Bowmores have been sold at auction.

The current auction record for a Bowmore 1966 Samaroli Bouquet is £72,600 achieved at Sotheby’s in 2019.

Silvano Samaroli and Emmanuel Dron were close friends, sharing a passion for whisky.

As such, when Emmanuel Dron – author of Collecting Scotch Whisky and owner of the Auld Alliance bar in Singapore – opened a bottle of Bowmore 1966 Samaroli Bouquet in 2017, it was certainly a newsworthy event. Dron offered the whisky by the dram. Consequently, whisky lovers flocked to Singapore from all over the world to sample the legendary whisky.

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Beth Squires

Beth joined Mark Littler Ltd full-time in October 2020 following the completion of her university degree. Since then she has gained wide-ranging knowledge of all things whisk(e)y, and has written extensively for both company and external publications. Beth is passionate about industry innovation, marketing, and sustainability. With a particular affinity for independently bottled rare scotch, Beth is also a whisky bottle investment specialist.

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