Bowmore is on the island of Islay, renown for its quality and often smoky and peaty malts. It is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, having been around since 1779. They also contain a malting floor which they use – one of only a handful to do so. This whisky is part of their standard range, and is the youngest expression with an age statement. And, as winter is coming on, there is little like some smoky malt….
Nose: Smoke! There’s a nice edge of vanilla and apples, with even a bit of orange peel and a slight floral nature. The smoke has much the character of ash, and the peaty note is a slight bit medicinal as well. The smoke is a bit dry on the nose, and at times seems to seek too much or too little dominance, being not perfectly integrated. There’s a slight spicy edge too of red chillies and black pepper. There’s even a bit of dried apricot in the mix, too. 26.5/30 (88%)
Taste: Comes in with a moderate citrus and light vanilla pudding and caramel background before giving way to smoke and some black pepper. There’s a bit of smoked meat in the smoke, as well. I hope for just a bit more body to balance out the smoke in this one, and perhaps just a touch more sugar to balance out the salty tinge. 25/30 (83%)
Finish: Smoke, mixed with a light fruity character, including even some pomegranates, and some light vanilla and caramel. At this point, the smoke seems to separate a bit too much from the rest for my liking. And, interestingly, I get some artichokes to supplement it all. Some of the medicinal and iodine-like character of the Islay peat also comes through a bit on the finish. I find more apples and slightly more sweetness comes through as the finish starts to break down and develop. I find the finish improves as it changes in the mouth. 18/20 (90%)
Conclusion: Quite a nice dram, though in this tasting less impressive than I remember. I wish for a bit more of a full-bodied nature in the body surrounding the smoke, and a touch more sweetness. However, still a nice introduction to the smoky Islay malts, and, at least in Canada, it comes in a bit cheaper than the others, which I certainly won’t complain about. 17.5/20 (88%)
Overall Score: 87/100