When you hear the word Bowmore, some say, you either love it or you don’t, and if you do, you love everything about Bowmore. Bowmore or known as Morrison Bowmore Distillery also owns two other great distilleries, Glen Garioch and Auchentoshan. Bowmore is the first distillery to set foot in the famous island of Islay back in 1779, which today host some of the best distilleries and peated whiskies of the world. Yes, Bowmore makes peated whisky, it’s just their “style”. If you’re thinking Bowmore, you be drooling for smoky whisky but surprise-surprise, compared to other peated distilleries in Islay, such as the likes of Lagavulin and Laphroaig, Bowmore crafts very finely balanced peated whisky. Before we start, just a little note for you all, most women I know are generally not fans of peated whisky, but for the record, Rachel Barrie, I would like to think as a very gifted lady is the master blender of the distillery today.
Bowmore 15yo Darkest
Let’s dive into the first whisky of the night, 15yo Darkest. I would call this whisky gentle but bold because it’s spent 12 years in a bourbon cask and a final 3 years in an Oloroso sherry cask. If you’ve spent your final 3 years in a sherry cask after spending most of your childhood in a bourbon cask, you be expecting a more delinquent spirit but it isn’t, and that’s the magic of the 15yo Darkest. Instead of Frankenstein, you’ve made Mozart, a creative but soothing whisky. The aroma has a lot of fruit-cake, sherry, raisins, caramel and dark chocolate. The palate is very dark fruit-cake like, mild spiciness, with a nutty-peat but very silent finish. I guess that’s what catches you off-guard, because it doesn’t as when you down the dram, you will almost wander what happened to the whisky I just had, and you be asking for more only so you could ask the same question again.
whiskytale: The Bowmore Darkest is an intended as a Frankenstein creation, but by freak accident you’ve created Mozart. If you are not sure about peated whisky, 15yo Darkest is a great way to experiment, and you be well back for more. You can’t really go wrong with the price either as it’s only £40.
We move to the 18yo Bowmore, a marriage between bourbon and oloroso sherry cask. This whisky will put upright on your feet. When you had the 15yo darkest, you’re listening to soft music, and with the 18yo, the DJ has upped the tempo and it’s time to head the dance floor. The palate has more spicy vanilla, pineapples, lemon and sherry. The difference is now apparent since you are getting more of the bourbon cask coming out. The palate is fruit cake light with spiciness and that ever so long metallic finish.
whiskytale: A drink in the Bowmore 18yo dram will carry you till midnight and you will want to dance to the very last. After dancing all night out, you wake up tomorrow in your bed; you will remember the Bowmore 18yo, just like the lady you’re with on that night, because she’s still there cuddling you. Scary as the thought may be, the Bowmore 18yo will not let you go once she has her eyes on you. The whisky will cost you about £90 but you should not complain if you have something that was all worth it in the end.
Bowmore Tempest 10yo Batch 4
A ferocious hurricane? Bottle at a whopping cask strength of 55.1%, this is their 4th whisky batch Bowmore has released. Purely non-chill filtered first filled bourbon cask, it throws quite the punch in the name itself and in the whisky too. But not everything throws you off violently because drinking the tempest takes you into the eye of the storm. The aroma is lemon, citrus, orange, vanilla and some say coconut too. The palate is very spicy with lemony, salty, cereal and dry. It’s a storm in your mouth alright. Now it’s time brave the ending and swallow the devastation. And that’s where the Tempest takes you into the eye of the storm as the finish is the complete opposite because it’s so peaceful and tranquil. Congratulations, the tempest is a hurricane in a whisky. You survived, but oh wait, maybe I’ll have another dram just to relive the moment.
whiskytale: The Tempest name speaks for itself because it is a hurricane in a mouth, but it takes you further when the finish puts you in the eye of the storm where it’s gentle and calm. The Tempest will cost you about £50 and dear oh dear, it’s possibly the other alternate to experiencing a real hurricane.
The Bowmore 25yo. We are now upping the ante and the price tag. The Bowmore 25yo is matured in purely olorosso sherry cask. Bowmore only produce 12 cask a year, with hefty price tag of close to £300 a bottle. That’s a lot for a 25yo whisky and with demand surge for whisky, the price is not far off from some of the other distilleries. The aroma is very fruit cake light, sherry, mild cinnamons, pineapples and cedar-wood. The first thing you realise in the palate is the creamy-oily texture with dark chocolatie and fruit cake. This is typical of the whisky coming to this age. The peatiness drops, the spicy aggressiveness mellows and the whisky becomes more balanced and soft-textured.
whiskytale: It’s time to get nostalgic with your dram. You are now contemplating the good old times either with that old friend or partner of yours sitting by the fire on a cold winter’s night. It’s an elegant dram, not something to brag about, just for that perfect moment in time. I would wish a little bit more complexity though in the Bowmore 25yo only because this is a whisky where I want my imagination to fly-way to reminiscent the good old times. May be upping the ABV level slightly higher ightjust do the trick but not sure Rachel Barrie nor the price tag would agree.
Bowmore 23yo 1989 Port Cask Matured Whisky
The finale of the night is a new limited edition whisky. It’s the 23yo 1989 Port Cask matured whisky bottled at cask strength of 50.8% and there are only 12,000 bottles. I was curious about this whisky when I heard about its release recently and the host for the night brought a sample bottle. The aroma has a lot of fruitiness and plums. The palate is grape like, spicy and a little dry.
whiskytale: It’s a whisky for a fine evening dining and a three course meal served with a juicy steak. The butler will present the bottle at the end of the night rolled in a trolley and everyone poured a dram. The toastmaster will say a few words and everyone will cheers. After drinking the dram, one lady will say “My goodness, that’s a lovely whisky” in which the host will reveal that it’s a Bowmore 23yo port cask matured whisky. Everyone will then take a deep-breath with the sophistication of its name. There will then be one bold person sited who will ask the question of “How much is it as I would like to buy a bottle?” The host will reveal its price tag of near £400 and everyone murmur.
The price does put me off a little bit only because what’s on my mind now, is it really worth drinking a bottle worth that much? You rarely get a whisky that is completely matured in port cask, hence the price and it does have its own following. Just maybe, when you finally decided you want a bottle, and then to only find out that it’s now completely sold-out and the price has gone up even further.