Douglas Laing Bowmore Tasting Notes

Posted: August 25, 2011 in Bowmore, Scotch Whisky A-G

Douglas Laing Old Particular Bowmore 2000 (15 year old) 48.4%

Sherry Butt/ Code: OLD0198/ Dist: May 2000 Btl: June 2015/ Tasted: Dec 2015

Heavy, oily and sulphurous on the nose with burnt butter, caramel and edgy herbal notes. A touch of tar and peat appears along with some cardboardy spices, just for good measure!

The palate is best forgotten! Sulphur and dirty spices with hints of tar and peat. Short and bitter.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Bowmore 2001 (15 year old) 48.4%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: OLD447/ DL11804

Dist: Dec 2001 Btl: Jun 2017/ Tasted: July 2017

A dusty and smoky nose with plenty of sweet barley, iodine, coal tar, rubber and creosote. Now, that’s an old skool, butch and manly Bowmore! Although there is a slight soapiness in the background. With time hints of sweet parma violets and a light malty/ feinty note.

The palate is a little lighter and unfortunately a bit on the cardboardy side with peat dust, charcoal, tar, rubber and salt. Good, meaty finish with lingering parma violets, treacle and tar. Yes, it’s definitely manly but flawed!

Douglas Laing Old Particular Bowmore 2002 (15 year old) 48.4%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: OLD0483/ DL12058

Dist: Sept 2002 Btl: Sept 2017/ Tasted: Jan 2018

A fresh and lemony nose with subtle, oily barley and earthy peat. Gently medicinal with iodine and nettles, but also a slight soapiness.

The palate is very coal dusty with peat briquettes and hints of lemon and barley. Pleasantly oily middle with some subtle medicinal notes. Good length with lingering peat dust, violets and sweet barley. The palate is lot more interesting than the nose.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Bowmore 1998 (16 year old) 48.4%

Bourbon/ Code: OLD0128/ Dist: Jun 1998 Btl: Oct 2014/ Tasted: Nov 2014

The nose is quite crisp, fresh and herbal with camphor and menthol. A little dry peat and a touch of iodine emerges along with some building earthy spice and a touch of tar and lemon.

The palate is reasonably fresh with lemon and barley to begin with. Quite mellow and straightforward with a light herbal note. Good length with some honey and citrus cough sweet notes coming through with a light, dusty peat and spice note. Pleasant if a bit simple.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Bowmore 1996 (17 year old) 48.4%

Bourbon/ Code: OLD0075/ Dist: Mar 96 Btl: Jan 14/ Tasted: Feb 14

The aromas are full and quite oaky to start with polished wood, light brine, sooth peat and big myrtle. Beautifully mellow and complex with hints of tar, rope, fish and parma violets.

The palate is quite full and malt with dark spice, treacle and tar with hints of tobacco and peat smoke. It fills out pleasantly as the oils develop, but a touch of salt balances. Lightly medicinal/iodine finish with the sooth peat, oily/ tarry notes lingering.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Bowmore 1997(?) (17 year old) 50.1%

Code: OLD0127/ Dist: 1997(?) Btl: Aug 2014/ Tasted: Sept 2014

The oak has verily trampled all over the nose. Linseed oil, light malt and a touch of oily almond paste greet the nose. With time the aromas become a little balsamic.

The palate is a little cleaner and more focused but there is still plenty of dampening, natural caramel. Hints of smoke, peat, tar and iodine come through on the middle, but to be honest there isn’t much going on apart from the oak!

Douglas Laing Old Particular Bowmore 1998 (17 year old) 48.4%

Sherry Butt/ Code: OLD0348/ DL11355

Dist: Jun 1998 Btl: Dec 2015/ Tasted: Nov 2016

An elegant nose of sweet-ish barley, salt and fairly astringent but subtle peat. Hints of classic Bowmore violets appear along with iodine, soft, fragrant smoke and spice.

The palate is as elegant as the nose suggests. Barley led with milky oak and dry peat. Fresh, coastal an subtly smoky middle with violets and gentle spice. Long and continuing coastal with a salt encrusted citrus finish and violety after-taste.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Bowmore 1999 (18 year old) 48.4%

Code: OLD0169/ Dist: Sept 1999 Btl: Feb 2015/ Tasted: Mar 2015

Light fish oils and charred wood appear first. Quite astringent and coastal with rich apricot fruit beneath and hints of smoke and spice.

Full and juicy with vanilla, malt, light treacle and hints of leather, peat and fish oils. The fruit is pleasantly robust and fleshy with a touch of dark chocolate coming through on the middle. Long and spicy with bbq meat and loads of cocoa accented malt an salt. Superb finish with a light violet after-taste.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Bowmore 1996 (20 year old) 51.5%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: OLD0411/ Dist: Dec 1996 Btl: Mar 2017/ Tasted: Mar 2017

The nose is quite crisp and coastal with plenty of peat, tar and malt. Subtle oak and sweet violet notes follow and the peat becomes slightly medicinal in character with seaweed and dusty peat smoke appearing.

The palate is wonderfully crisp and fresh and definitely doesn’t act its age! White pear, apple, violets, barley and dusty oak caress the palate along with a subtle seaweed and medicinal peat note on the middle. Darkens a little as the malt and treacle come through. Long and very salty with lingering violets, peat and medicinal notes. A very impressive bottling.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Bowmore 1987 (25 year old) 50.2%

Bourbon/ Code: OLP0005/ Dist: Dec 1987 Btl: Aug 2013/ Tasted: Sept 2013

Quite a dense and oily nose with oodles of herbal-peat and brine along with hints of liquorice and black pepper. Wonderfully gentle and mature with developing malty, stewed fruit. With time hints of seaweed, light tar, camphor, treacle and very dusty peat emerge. Stunning nose!

Wonderfully soft and mature on the palate, opening with baked fruit and dusty peat along with hints of wood spice and mature parma violets. Pleasantly full and as those oils get going it fleshes out rather well on the middle with tar, spice and fish oils. Very, very long with the sweet parma violet lingering along with the dusty-peat and tar, finishing with hints of damp wood and dunnage floors. Classic old Bowmore, absolutely stunningly long, the after-taste lasts for a good 5 mins!


Douglas Laing Directors Cut Bowmore 1996 (15 year old) 52.2%

Bourbon/ Code: DL8034/ Dist: Apr 1996 Btl: Jan 2012/ Tasted: June 2013

A beautiful, shimmering nose. Lightly gristy barley entwines with plenty of lemon and light peat. Lightly medicinal with hints of brine and cough sweets. Very elegant and classy with a gentle smoky quality.

The soft, succulently sweet barley opens the proceedings followed by hints of lemon and salt. Gentle smoky peat drifts in and turns somewhat earthier and sweeter on the middle. Very long with the citrus and coastal notes lingering and finishing with a touch of tar and a light mentholated note.

A drop of water makes the nose more straw-like in character and allows more of the mature oak to come through. Less peated but still quite oily now with a lovely herbal, violet note emerging. The palate is a touch sweeter and oilier with again a little more of the American oak showing. Still quite citric in character with a more prominent medicinal peatiness. Still very long and salty. Very enjoyable.


Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Bowmore 1989 (21 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2065/ Dist: Nov 1989 Btl: July 2011/ Tasted: July 2011

Is this really 21 years old? For a spirit this age it’s showing an inordinate amount of youthful cereal with hints of fish, brine, smoked bacon, tar and camphor. With time it becomes quite earthy. Yes the edges of the spirit have been rounded off but on nosing this cask I would have left it alone for another few years.

Very oily on the palate and the spirit tastes a lot more mature (maybe it was the right time to bottle it?) There is some gentle earthy peat along with a hint of fisherman’s friends, menthol and bog myrtle. On the middle some lightly honeyed delicate fruit arrives. Good length with hints of liquorice, dusty peat and mature honey. In fact the honey is beautifully sweet, and it certainly seems to me to be a ‘classic’ Bowmore bottling.

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Bowmore 2000 (11 year old) 50%

Sherry/ Code: OMC2112/ Dist: Sept 2000 Btl: Dec 2011/ Tasted: Dec 2011

An overtly spicy and tarry nose with plenty of herbal sherry mingling with camphor, liquorice, tar and creosote. The peat is quite dry and dusty and with time it develops a meaty smokiness. A lovely, harmonious blend of cask and spirit but there is the faintest sulphur blemish along with a late fisherman’s friends note.

Once in the mouth ones suspicions of a slight sulphur blemish are confirmed, but there is plenty of sweet, spicy dried fruit, herbal sherry and bog myrtle followed by hints of peat and smoked kippers. Like the nose suggests the peat is quite dry but wonderfully sweet and really begins to assert itself on the middle with an oily/ tarry dénouement. Very full and harmonious – blemish aside, not overly coastal but a definite tarry monster. If only that blemish wasn’t there this would be a must buy.


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