The 2001 Hepburn’s Choice Bowmore 14 Years is a K&L single barrel selection and came highly recommended by several people whose tastes I often align with. Combine that with the fact that I like almost every IB Bowmore I come across I decided to throw down my $83 ($95 after tax) and give it a try… holy crap I’m glad I did.
In K&L’s Words: 2001 Hepburn’s Choice Bowmore 14 Years
“While Bowmore seems to play second (or even fourth) fiddle to the Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig selections on our shelf, we’ve always been enamored with Islay’s most historic distillery. We’ve never let popular whisky culture or changes in the portfolio diminish the fact that Bowmore tastes pretty damn good in a number of iterations. While tasting through single-cask selections this year, we found a 14-year-old sherry butt that was so dark and so soft we couldn’t pass it up. The best part about this particular expression was the texture; it mirrored the most popular Bowmore edition we sell: the 15-year-old “Darkest,” albeit at full proof and from one concentrated cask (and despite the fact this was supposedly a “refill” barrel).
The flavors are dark and rich, brooding and slow-moving over the palate. Dark chocolate accented by a beach bonfire oozes over the tongue, buoyed by toasted almonds and earthy peat. The nice part about sherry butts is that they hold more whisky! In the case of this 14-year-old Bowmore, we figured we were going to need every drop. We expect this to be one of the most popular K&L casks of the fall season; while it lasts, of course.”
It’s a cask strength, single re-fill sherry, 14-year-old Bowmore that drinks, and looks, like a first-fill sherry. There’s not much else to say except let’s get on with the 2001 Hepburn’s Choice Bowmore 14 Years review!
2001 Hepburn’s Choice Bowmore 14 Years Info
Region: Islay, Scotland
Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
2001 Hepburn’s Choice Bowmore 14 Years Review
Smoke, dried strawberries, cocoa, dark fruit leather, shortcake and light bits of grape sweetness and citrus frosting. There’s an underlying essence of a grill right before it’s turned on; meaty, smoky, oily and a touch metallic.
Oily peat, char, rich dark fruit, toffee, fruit cake, dark honey, brown sugar and light bits of pine nuts, saline, charred meat and iodine.
Long peaty trail with detours of saline, dark fruit, angel food cake and oil.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Great balance, round full body and a rich velvety feel.
Holy crap. This… THIS is what the Devil’s Casks follow-ups should have tasted like. This 2001 Hepburn’s Choice Bowmore 14 Years is simply stunning and I’m glad I picked some up. The aroma is like a smoked strawberry shortcake and the palate carries a similar character, but darker and heavier with a greater depth and complexity to it. Water doesn’t do much to the aroma but brings out some maple on the palate. Though it doesn’t really need it, it’s perfectly fine at cask strength.
K&L just sold out of the 2001 Hepburn’s Choice Bowmore 14 Years, but even though you can’t get this exact cask these are casks to watch for and see if other people, possibly even K&L, get some sister casks. If they do, and you like the peat-n-sweet combo, jump on them immediately. This is the kind of thing Bowmore should be putting out on their own. This… this I am a fan of.
SCORE: 90/100 (A-)
2001 Hepburn's Choice Bowmore 14 Years Review - Score Breakdown
- Nose - 92
- Palate - 90
- Finish - 89
- Balance, Body & Feel - 89
2001 Hepburn's Choice Bowmore 14 Years is really damn awesome, keep your eye out for similar casks.