Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Old Uncle Bow - Bowmore 12 Years Old

Bowmore 12 Years Old
Bowmore Distillery is a bit a legend in the stakes of Islay whiskies and I think sometimes overlooked by our club at tastings. Why? Possibly this because it is a whisky that remains constant in quality and style. Bowmore assumes the soft smoke breeze tainted with salted barnacles that is then layered with sweet malt to sherry textures. These nuances make Bowmore one of the lighter flavoured peated whiskies when compared to the bold assertiveness of something like an Ardbeg. Bowmore could be seen as the comfortable uncle always at the party, well dressed in a black pin stripe vest, a glass always half full in hand, never upsetting a sole. This is not a bad thing and in fact is one of the reasons I have always loved Bowmore. It is also worth noting through the mid 2000’s there was a point some may recall where Bowmore displayed a musty edge. Why I don’t know but it is certainly something of the past and has been rectified now. These days it is not often, if ever, you hear anyone saying a bad thing about Old Uncle Bow (Bowmore) which maybe also explains why our club does not indulge in its refinement enough.

So here I am examining the finer points of the Bowmore 12 years Old Single Malt. This whisky is the flagship expression by this legendary distillery. It sees a maturation in both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry oloroso casks for a minimum of 12 years while being peated on the lighter side at around 20ppm to 25ppm. Bottled at 40% ABV it is a little stretched and I would love to see it sitting into the mid 40’s at leasts. I have had the pleasure of several amazing SMWS single casks at cask strength and I know for a fact Bowmore can do with a bit more weight on the ABV. Bowmore is amazing at cask strength. Dashing ABV aside Bowmore gentle peat layering allows for wood textures to clearly appear that gives this whisky a historical whisky style.

Bowmore 12 Years Old, Single Malt
Distiller: Bowmore Distillery
Region: Islay, Scotland
ABV: 40%
Wood: Ex-Bourbon & Ex-Oloroso Sherry Casks
PPM: 20 - 25

Nose: Maritime breeze filled with beach smoke & salt air, boxed new leather shoes, mildly boggy with a citrus tang.

Taste: Sweet & salty seafood soup, warm toasted woods, honey, citrus zest, spicy tannins (earthy) and lanolin cream with wafts of smoke.

Finish: Easy & long with a lingering warmth. Develops an emerging prickle in the gums and a metallic belt on the tongue. Waves of salt continue to batter the palate long after the dram is done.

Overall this whisky displays an appreciable roundness. Not too strong, not too stiff, not too floral, and certainly not too peaty. If I was to give dram then it would be 5.5 out of 7. At $86.99AU a bottle it makes for pretty good value. The metallic elements certainly make me think bourbon casks have a higher influence over the oloroso sherry but I am appreciative of not letting things get too sherried all the time.

May may recall for a long time seeing the no age statement Bowmore Legend on the shelves. Though the  Legend is still purchasable at some retailers at below $50 I am happy this whisky has left Aussie shores to give the Bowmore 12 Years Old more time in the sun. We have seen the Bowmore Small Batch Bourbon Matured whisky at several of our tasting but this also is now being removed form the Australian market. I must emphasis that I also had a taste of the newer Bowmore Darkest 15 Years Old and it is a smashing dram.

It is now getting towards the end of Dramcember but I am not done yet and anticipate at least1 or 2 more posts to ring in the new year.

The Baron.