Tag Archive: 30 Year


Girvan 30

Girvan: 30 year (Scottish Single Grain Whisky: 30 years: 42.6% ABV)

Visual: Light gold.

Viscosity: Thin fast streaks.

Nose: Shredded wheat. Butter. Crumpets. Sugar dusting. Dried apricot and subtle dried dates. Dried banana. Marshmallows. Water brings out passion fruit.

Body: Vanilla pods. Banana. Pear drops. Toasted teacakes. White chocolate. Oily touch. Creamy. Water adds passion fruit, lychee and apricot.

Finish: Butterscotch. Mango. Light oak. Malt drinks. Toast. Truffle oil. Jolly ranchers. Water adds lychee and choc orange.

Conclusion: This is very a nice, very smooth whisky. It has the light fruity notes that seem to be Girvan’s style – with the creamy and smooth texture – but here it has a gentle toasted base that really helps the other flavours stand out.

Of all the Girvan whiskies I have tried this is the most open to contemplation – There is such subtle fruit, both yellow and orange, all very gentle rather than sparkling. Gentle sweetness in the form of marshmallow and vanilla. because it is so gentle it doesn’t hit you instantly instead building up over time, and despite the gentle character it still manages to grip well. You do not replace your previous sip each time so much as add another layer to it.

It feels odd that such an old a delicate whisky would need a few drops of water to open it up, but so it actually is. Water adds even more subtle fruit in lychee style – at this point it goes from good to a brilliantly complex whisky, without giving up the easy to drink characteristics.

Treating it as an easy drinking whisky wont give you the full experience though. You really need time and patience to get the full experience. It hits its peak about half way through a measure, which is both a strength and a weakness depending upon how you look at it.

For downsides, well there is a slight alcohol and not quite perfectly matched oak note in the finish – I guess all that time in the oak has made it just slightly over dry at the end. Apart from that, very impressive. Even better, when returning to it to try at home I found slightly different notes to those tried on the trip, so it keeps giving over time. Typical, my favourite is the one I am least likely to be able to afford. very good whisky though.

Background: Ok, you all know the drill by now. Full disclosure – Girvan paid for flight, etc so I could tour their distillery, gave me whisky there, and have sent me some whisky to do notes on. This is the final one – the thirty year old, and one from the last year that they used maize to make the spirit. little touches like that always fascinate me. Drunk while listening to some tracks from LukHash – I’ve been playing a free bullet hell shooter called “Jigoku Kisetsukan Sense of the Seasons” and some of the soundtrack is from that artist. Retro style music for some old whisky, a perfect match, no?

Bowmore 30 Years (Islay Scottish Single Malt Whisky: 30 years: 43% ABV)

Visual: Honeyed gold.

Viscosity: Very slow puckering and thick clinging spirit.

Nose: Smoke and fudge, with very slight olives in brine. Marmalade. Hint of beef broth underneath.  Water initially makes lighter, then allows pineapple, mandarin orange and confectionary to come out

Body: Very smooth with a ginger like sparkle to it. Dry oak, custard sweetness with that marmalade touch again. Water makes much sweeter, and yet adds a bit of beef and peat to roam. Sweet pineapple and mandarin orange then round it out.

Finish: Booming oak with slight brine. Slight bitter chocolate.  The flavour is very dry.  Water makes more broth like and adds much sweeter chocolate. Slight sherried raisins and mandarin orange.

Conclusion: You never know what to expect with a new Bowmore, there is such a range to the spirit that each expression is new joy.

This then needs some examination. Very smooth, even without the water, and in that waterless form it has a slight sea and smoke touch that calls to the Islay home, yet with none of the harshness. This, if anything could be considered the Bowmore signature, but there is so much more here. Very much allowing rounded oak to have its influence and a ginger sparkle to replace the fire.  Adding water then reveals the most distinctive part of its character, a very fresh and sweet fruit to the body which seems this expressions stylistic take on the spirit.

This takes the expectations of a light fruity whisky and matches them against that restrained Islay character to significant success.  Very mellow for an Islay, even considering that Bowmore is usually a restrained example of the region, but the flavour gives its spice enough.

Very much feels like they have taken the experience in developing the different expression and mixed in choice elements. The chocolate sweetness of Bowmore 15 Darkest, Salt and smoke from the 12 ,and slight brine from the 18 year.

A complex whisky of worthy consideration. Considering the price, you will want to get a lot of consideration out of your measure.

Background: The hundredth whisky tasting note. Looking for something special, I remembered this bad boy was available by the measure in a pub over in Bristol. A day trip was then required. The 30 year Bowmore is one I have been told is normally only available in Travel Retail, making for a very special find.  I am a big fan of Bowmore, and enjoy Ian Banks description of it. To paraphrase, he says that the different expressions of Bowmore cover such a wide range that if you cannot find a Bowmore you like, then you should question if whisky is the thing for you. I can’t help but agree.

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