Bowmore 18 Year Old (Travel Retail) – 43% abv
Info: Bowmore recently unveiled three new duty-free exclusive malts, aged 10, 15 & 18 years, marking a return to age statements for the first time in five years. The 18yo is described as Deep and Complex, and has been matured in both Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez Sherry casks.
Colour: Medium to dark burnished gold, autumn orange. (the bottle says it contain E150a colouring).
Nose: Gentle and sweet. You’re greeted by smooth and restrained peaty hints, along with a waxy varnish type note followed by a rich and layered fruity compote of winter berries; stewed blackcurrants, blackberries and gooseberries along with hints of macadamia nuts.
Bowmore Stillmen’s Selection – 17yo – 53.1% abv
Info: Distilled on 22nd June 1998 and matured in Bordeaux wine barriques. Limited release, distillery exclusive of 1,500 numbered bottles.
Colour: Dark but bright with ruddy red tints.
Nose: Evocative Islay in a glass! There’s a great medium level of peat, but hiding behind that is a rich and fresh coastal spirit that has intertwined well with late summer red berries, black and red currants.
Bowmore – The Devil’s Casks Batch III – 56.7% abv
Info: “Double the Devil”, so the label says. Matured in first fill sherry casks; both Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez. The third and final release in the series. NAS.
Colour: Dark and rusty, mahogany.
Nose: A fair alcohol nip if you nose too strongly at first. Behind that is a creamy, fruity and lightly smoked malt, backed up by some slightly sappy oaky notes. With some warmth and a little time you get a milk chocolate tone and the smoke notes start to come out more strongly… It’s more smoke than peat with a salty, ozoney, coastal air background, reminiscent of Bowmore’s island location.
Bowmore Mizunara Cask Finish – 53.9% abv
Info: This has been made up of different vintages from the 1990s (so around 15-25 years old), and then finished in Japanese Mizunara oak which is the first time that Mizunara casks have been exported from Japan. There’s 2000 bottles.
Colour: Fully golden, setting evening sun.
Nose: Straight away there’s a great waft of coastal peat that you’d come to expect from Bowmore, although it seems slightly more at the fore than on general releases. However behind it there’s all sorts of goodies, and a sweetness that reminds me of Love Heart sweets. There’s also definitely a sour touch there as well which balances out the sweetness.
BOWMORE MIZUNARA CASK FINISH BRINGS TOGETHER TWO OF THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS WHISKY ISLANDS
CREATING AN INDUSTRY FIRST, BOWMORE LAUNCHES A SINGLE MALT WHISKY FINISHED IN THE HIGHLY REVERED JAPANESE MIZUNARA CASKS
Only 2,000 bottles of Bowmore Mizunara Cask Finish available globally
ABV 53.9% | 700ml
Bowmore 17yo – SMWS 3.243 – 57.1% abv
Info: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) have joined with Islay House for their first Feis Ile event on Friday 22nd May 2015, and to celebrate they’re releasing this bottle of 3.243 “Dark, smouldering flamenco gypsy”, a refill ex-sherry butt, which will be available at the hotel on the evening.
Colour: Fairly dark mahogany gold.
Nose: Gentle light islay smoke. Layers of smells; old oak, leather, cola cube (just the one!), gentle mosses. It’s possibly slightly closed, but give it some time to open up, maybe gently warm it in your hand and out comes a hint of smouldering fire and cinder toffee.
February and March saw two sets of single cask releases from Wemyss Malts, a bumper crop which includes two bottlings at cask strength. Click here to see information about the bottings
“Kirsch Gateau” 1988 single cask from Bunnahabhain Distilery, Islay, Cask Strength
“Cacao Geyser” 1998 single cask from Bowmore Distillery, Islay
“Snuffed Candle” 1999 singe cask from Aberfeldy Distillery, Highlands
“Dark Treacle Fondant” 2002 single cask from Craigellachie Distillery, Speyside
“Honeysuckle Bower” 1995 single cask from Linkwood Distillery, Speyside
“Caribbean Crème” 1988 single cask from Invergordon Distillery, grain
“The Rockpool” 1995 single cask from Bowmore Distilery, Islay, Cask Strength
“Foraged Fruit Fool” 1991 single cask from Blair Athol Distillery, Highlands
“Toffee Tuile” 1999 singe cask from Aberfeldy Distillery, Highlands
“Kumquat Cluster” 1993 single cask from Glenrothes Distillery, Speyside
“Stem Ginger Preserve” 1995 single cask from Mortlach Distillery, Speyside
“Rhubarb Royale” 2001 single cask from Benrinnes Distillery, Speyside
I’ve been lucky enough to able to review six of the recent releases, so without further ado, let’s take a look at my thoughts…
Bowmore Devil’s Cask Batch 2 – 56.3% abv
Info: Bowmore’s well priced, very limited, all sherry matured 10yo comes back for more… The round church in Bowmore kept the Devil from hiding and staying around the first time, but he’s back for a second go!
Colour: Dark burnt rust.
Nose: Argh wow, it’s easy to forget how good this whisky is. The nose is powerful and instantly takes me back to bonfire night around the fire watching fireworks as a kid. It’s smoky, woody, full of fire. Yet it’s sweet, it’s coastal in nature, tarry, malty and it’s spicy.
(For my reviews, please read on…)
For those of you that follow Wemyss Malts you’ll know that they release various bottlings a few times a year, and the most recent summer releases include some real beauties including a single grain single cask whisky for the first time and the most valuable whisky Wemyss has ever released – a 31 year old single cask from Bowmore distillery.
I’m kind of supposed to be on a diet… one of those diets that never really quite get going, but you have every good intention of starting tomorrow. With that in mind friends and family eased off buying me anything much in the way of any Easter eggs this year, which made me really quite upset, damn them!
However, (yippee) Bowmore came to the rescue! Bless them and their chocolaty Easter eggy general good chappishness. (FYI mostly not actual chaps, I’m being gender neutral here).
So, it’s with excitement I opened the following just before Easter hit…