Michael McCarthy Michael McCarthy | April 14, 2021 | Food & Drink
The new Timeless Series by Bowmore is a testament to patience, purity and how greatness stems from the ladder of years.
The limited release’s hourglass packaging is a thing of beauty.
I’m at the age where time is no longer a youthful abstraction; it’s now a sidekick, rolling beside me, always within reach, in equal parts goodness and derision. I’m cool with that. As Leo Tolstoy noted, the two most powerful warriors are patience and time. The geniuses at Bowmore certainly understand this maxim. When the legendary Scottish distiller’s latest release, Bowmore 27 Timeless, was in its infancy, Bill Clinton was president, George Foreman was the heavyweight champ, Sony released the PlayStation video game system in Japan, and a young, enterprising gent named Jeff Bezos started an online bookstore called Amazon.
Flash-forward 27 years, and the brand’s limited global release of a mere 3,000 bottles of the single-malt whisky has fans buzzing, and for good reason. This is what time tastes like. The whisky’s nose is a mix of cooked plums and prune jam, along with Corinth raisins, toffee, maple syrup and smoked seaweed. Sipping the spirit delivers notes of chestnut honey, roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate, with a long finish of dried fruits, singed wood and hints of frankincense.
An hourglass comes inside the box for Bowmore 27 Timeless, a reminder to consider the spirit’s aroma and the passage of time.
“With only 3,000 bottles, this release is both rare and incredibly special, but, for me, it’s much more than that. It’s a remarkable example of how beautifully the Bowmore spirit matures,” says Ron Welsh, Bowmore’s master blender. The 27-year-old single malt was matured in sherry and bourbon casks for 15 years, then carefully moved to first-fill oloroso butts where it remained for 12 years. “I personally took a great deal of time to select the six sherry casks from the 30 we have, ensuring I selected only those which had reached their peak for this edition,” he says.
The legendary No. 1 Vaults—among the world’s oldest—is where most of the whiskies spend their long lives resting quietly in the cool, dark, damp cellars below sea level, oblivious to the waves thrashing the vault’s sea-facing wall on Islay, Scotland’s southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides. “Bowmore is one of the few distilleries that still produces its own floor-malted barley, hand-turned by a traditional wooden malt shovel and hand-drawn machinery. Water for the whiskies is specially drawn from the Lagg an River,” says Welsh.
The master blender says Bowmore has made sure that those who purchase a bottle of the new release consider the passage of time. One reminder is the spirit’s packaging: a black box in the shape of an hourglass. “We [even] went so far as to include a threeminute hourglass inside the wooden case, so that you contemplate the unfolding aromas before taking that first sip,” he says. And if I forget to sip by the rules of the hourglass? I’m certain my sidekick, time itself, will gently remind me.
Photography by: PHOTOS COURTESY OF BOWMORE 27 TIMELESS