Bowmore 36-Year-Old Dragon Edition Pays Homage To Loved Bottling From Years Ago - The Whiskey Wash
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Bowmore 36-Year-Old Dragon Edition Pays Homage To Loved Bottling From Years Ago

By Nino Marchetti / August 13, 2019

In the world of niche Scotch whisky releases, Beam Suntory’s Bowmore distillery certainly has its share of past and present bottlings that a select group of individuals have great affection for. One of these is the legendary Bowmore Sea Dragon, a 30 year old expression released as a very limited offering in 2006 that was distilled during 1960s, said to be the one of the great eras from this Islay whisky maker. A new release is now set to pay homage to it in a similar limited fashion.

The new Bowmore 36-Year-Old Dragon Edition, according to those behind it, celebrates its predecessor whisky and is noted for having “been specially selected from the same parcel of sherry casks used to create” the 30 year old. What’s not clear here is if this means (1) they put similarly aged spirit to these casks to finish them in or (2) they removed the whisky from these casks years ago and put the liquid in special storage to preserve its age. Whatever the case, it follows on the heels of similar releases back in 2006 and 2012.

The bottle design of this particular 2019 variant is pretty stunning, said to feature the “mythical Chinese dragon” while also reflecting the 30 year old’s attention to a famous dragon myth of Islay. It is planned to be the first in a series of four bottlings that will celebrate “the mythical creatures that live on in Chinese culture today.” As such, it is being released exclusively into China. It is also reported the series as a whole includes “the Azure Dragon of the East, the Vermilion Bird of the South, the White Tiger of the West, and the Black Turtle (also called Black Warrior) of the North,” all of which are the “‘Four Guardians’ that appears in Chinese mythology.”

Bowmore 36-Year-Old Dragon Edition

Bowmore 36-Year-Old Dragon Edition (image via Bowmore)

“This new expression is a homage to the 30-Year-Old Sea Dragon that’s been much loved and collected by Bowmore fans across China,” said David Turner, Bowmore Distillery Manager, in a prepared statement. “Born from an island that is rich with heritage and legends, Bowmore is celebrating the legendary creatures of Chinese mythology that are the protectors of people – just as Bowmore has protected and matured this precious liquid for 36 years. We’ve taken this amazing legacy and renewed it for the next generation of whisky drinkers.”

Only 888 bottles of this whisky are being released, each pricing around $2,000 USD and bottled at natural color and strength. You’ll find some official tasting notes below for your consideration.

  • Colour: (natural) Burnt Umber
  • Nose: Scented wood, cedar, beeswax, tropical fruit, toffee apple, old leather, coconuts, rich Demerara sugar, cinnamon, a touch of aniseed, liquorice, caramelised orange peels and ginger.
  • Palate: Dried fruits, sultanas, Corinth raisins, roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate.
  • Finish: Floral, peppery with oak spices and iodine.