It had been quite a few months since I last tried a Bowmore, but this one came highly recommended by several people. One of them even called it ‘his best Bowmore ever’, imagine that! So I went hunting for a sample and here we are. Going to take some time with this one.
You immediately smell both the peat and the sea, but this is quickly pushed back ever so elegantly by a truckload of citrus fruit with lemon in the lead, followed closely by lime. Fresh and bright, followed with a lot of vanilla and some grass. A very summery Bowmore on the nose.
Very varied arrival. There is a lot going on here: peat, salt, citrus, cold ashes and some mint. Prawns on the BBQ, sprinkled with fresh lemon juice. Good body, by the way. A bit of pepper and mint offer some zing, while the smoke develops slowly and remains in the background, yet carries the whole if you know what I mean. Complex acidity (oh, come on, Mark, you show-off!). A bitterness from a grape pith towards the end. The whole is quite harmonious.
The finish is the best part. Very long, slightly drying, with lovely notes of sweet versus salt, the smoke that becomes bigger, clearly stating ‘this is Islay’! For a moment I am reminded of my beloved Caol Ila (they won’t like that at Bowmore, but it’s music to my own ears). Some candied ginger at the death.
Delicious Bowmore indeed. And if you realize that I am writing these notes on a Saturday morning before breakfast (because the taste buds are still fresh then), you can imagine my day has just been made.