Some Bowmore samples have piled up here, one was even taken straight from the cask (thanks, I feel honoured). With this Islay distillery you should taste before you buy as it offers so many style variations (well, maybe you always should, but with Laphroaig e.g., profiles are much more consistent in comparison to Bowmore). These four drams are now in for a head-to-head:
Bowmore 13 y.o. The Maltman, Cask sample for Pit, Sherry Cask (no further information)
Comment: New style Bowie, more intense and on primary notes than the others below at the first whiff, quite some acidity, more fruity than herbal in its basic style. Still recognizable Bowmore character though. In the background I find pine resin and atlantic freshness with sea spray (ozone). No obvious Sherry is detetable (which I don’t mind). It finishes really impressive. All in all it reminds me of the Tempest (Original Bottling). I’d say it is ready to be bottled but could mature two or three more years but not longer as it might lose intensity. Don’t dilute for filling 😉 – thanks for this personal sample!
Current Score (if that makes sense): 89+
Bowmore 21 y.o. The Maltman, Bourbon Cask, 46%
Comment: This dram is more in the old style of the late 1980ies/early 1990ies but fortunately lacks the perfumy part to a great extent, a real elegant sip, but altogether not dramatically different fom the 13 y.o. reviewed above. We have vanilla, ferns, mustard seed, leather, some fruits hinted at (like in an aquarelle picture), forest floor, discrete smoke and on the whole a greener and more vegetal style. In taste it suffered a bit from dilution as it is too thin on the palate, but that on a very high level … if you like smooth Islay drams this is the one to pick.
Bowmore 1994 – 2009 Berry Brothers & Rudd, Cask 1681, 56,3%
Comment: Again close to 13 y.o. from above in the basic profile, but way sootier and more peppery. This also displays wonderful saltiness and a mineral acidity. It is very Bowmore in style with all the complex elements this classic has, but it is also very powerful, a hidden power somehow, because it holds back at first. I like the notes of soot and iodine on one end, the vanilla and lilac on the other a lot. Both worlds of Bowmore in one dram. It really explodes in the mouth and departs from the understatement of the nose. This Bowmore is extra-special, a most elegant yet strong interpretation of the peat genre with great balance and a very long finish. It needs no water whatsoever. After one sip you wish for a bottle…and so did everyone in our tasting in the streetcar (Dram in a Tram).
Bowmore 15 y.o. Whisky-Fässle 1997 – 2012, Bourbon Hogshead, 53,7%
Comment: Duck fetishist Jens Unterweger brought us a new Bowmore in his duck-series. Quack! Aaah yes, it is one of those Bowies that retain distillery character but deliver a lot of power. Great freshness and balance to boot, altogether more on the spicy side. I like the white pepper and herbal plays in the background here … definitely one for a Bowmore sucker like me – if you like spiciness and herbs. Finally, there are soot and flints plus the classic Bowmore character in the finish. Water helps to balance the spiciness.