Staying on Islay, I noticed that I have not yet reviewed any Bowmore expressions on the blog, and – in fact – I never even mentioned it on any post. Kind of weird, as Bowmore is the oldest distillery on Islay (or not, if you go by excise records uncovered by Iain Russell, in which case that title would go to Ardbeg). It is fitting, then, to begin my reviews of Bowmore whiskys with the Bowmore 18, a dram that I’d best describe as somewhat strange. It’s no secret the peat changes over the life of the whisky in the barrel, going from the very hot and nippy peat of younger whiskys to the grand old mild peat of the 18 year olds and above.
This Bowmore is strange. Assertive fruity sherry with lots of really wet peat. The whisky was matured in both European and American oak casks and were combined and married for a while before bottling. I got flavors I never detected before like dill and canned fruit cocktail. I wonder what another meeting with this bottle, shared with me by Ofer would be like…
Bowmore 18 (43% ABV)
Color: Bronze, fast thick legs.
Nose: Wet peat, medicinal aromas, sage, wet wood, hints of peppermint, iodine, dill and some red wine.
Palate: Canned fruit cocktail, cherry flavored throat lozenges, medicinal tastes, ash and salty brine in a very chewy full bodied whisky.
Linger: Short with sherry notes and iodine.
With a character all to itself, had this been an SMWS expression it would be titled “Cherry cough drops in the soot”.
I liked the oder 17 year bottling much more. Nowadays the 15 darkest is better in my eyes than the 18(cheaper too)