If you have paid a bit of attention to this series, you would be aware that peat and smoke is something that resonates immensely well with my DNA, hence covering and tackling the big eight of Islay’s Distilleries is big on the agenda.
Full disclosure: I have not had a single drop of Bowmore before and was looking forward to uncorking this beautiful 12-year-old sourced from Loch Indaal’s Bowmore Distillery.
First impression is that I have missed out on this complex drop that has benefitted greatly from exposure to ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks, as it unfolds its breadth and circles around a centre of vanilla and orangey undertones, engulfed in bath of smoke and oily peat.
Despite the trademark Islay peaty punch, a subdued one at that, it allows for an array of subtle notes that include spices, cocoa, chocolate and a finish that is heavy on toffee.
Whereas other Islay Distilleries are mainly heavy on the smoke and peat, Bowmore is more sophisticated and enters through the backdoor as it has omnipresent sugary hints.
The surprising left turns it takes result in a well-calibrated flavour profile that with its silkiness and tactile mouthfeel will prove to be particularly appealing to the clientele that usually finds other Islay whiskies too harsh.
Do not get me wrong – this golden amber drop is a smoky one, but the smokiness gives way to floral notes and lets lemons and bergamot shine through in unison, which gives it special status among the emissions from Islay where phenolic components usually reign supreme.
This babyh here has sweetness sprinkled throughout coastal salty roughness and offers a consistent palate experience.
Accessible and affordable, Bowmore’s 12-year-old should not be missing from your liquor cabinet.
Photo by T