Bowmore ‘Feis Ile 2016’ (54.9%, OB, American Virgin Oak & European Oak Sherry Casks, 1500 bottles)
Apparently this is matured in virgin oak before being re-racked into fresh sherry. Hmmm...
Colour: Coppery orange
Nose: It really is the oak that sings loud
and clear first. New oak, pencil shavings, a little caraway liqueur,
some turpentine effect from the alcohol. After a little time some
creosote and tarry notes emerge morphing quickly into a light ashyness.
Some glimmers of Bowmore are in there, poking bravely through the clouds
of new oak. With water: more sea air and little more depth overall. The
wood shavings are still quite prevalent but there’s also old motor oil
and tool sheds knocking about in there now which is certainly pleasant.
Hot, syrupy oak at first with lots of glazed fruits and tar liqueur.
This is much nicer on immediate delivery than the nose. More fat, pulpy
fruits and oils but also quite a lot of oak still, there is more
distillate character but you’re never forgetting it’s really an
oak-forward whisky. Some nice sweet gristy notes and peat oils emerge on
second sip with notes of orange marmalade and something slightly
coastal like sandalwood. With water there is a little more deft green
fruit but its no fruit-bomb Bowmore. Greengages, various jams, then more
wood derivatives such as pin resin and tea tree oil. With a bit more
time it really starts to display some nice notes of wormwood and Green
Finish: A lot of residual tingling on the
front of the palate and a nice coastal fade but not overly long.
Slightly sticky woody notes and something menthol in the background.
Comments: It has its moments but this sort
of bottling feels a little like a missed opportunity. Bowmore’s
distillate is so distinctive it’s kind of frustrating that for a Feis
bottling they don’t embrace and show off their own best qualities. The
oak is just a bit too prevalent here and there is a bit of a confusion
between the virgin oak and the sherry. 79 points. Whiskyfun.com