By Richard Thomas
As a serious fan of “Age of Sail” fiction, such as that of C.S. Forrester and Patrick O’Brian, when I saw that Wemyss Malts had an expression called “The Bosun’s Dram” in its first single cask release for 2014, I knew that was the one I had to start with.
The Bosun’s Dram is a 1997 vintage from Bunnahabhain, but it was bottled in 2013 rather than this year, making it a 16 year old. An Islay distillery, the adjacent village of Bunnahabhain was literally founded to house the distillery workers, and continues to provide a majority of the village’s employment to this day.
I can certainly see The Bosun’s Dram serving as the tasty treat of a hard-bitten warrant officer, enjoyed after a day of rough seas. In the glass, the whisky had a deep, lustrous gold coloring, suggestive of a rich body.
The nose is quite aromatic and endowed with an oily texture, delivering a scent of toasty wood, pepper and cinnamon, and Islay sea spray. The flavor is dry and woody, a little toffee-like, peppery, and tinged with creosote. The finish leaves a warm, tingly afterglow and a drop of oily cinnamon.
This single cask expression had a run of 380 bottles, going for €70 each ($97).