Straight out of the shores of Loch Indaal the 12 year old Bowmore comes from one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. Back in 1999 when I just started to get into scotch I got this bottle as a present. I had never tasted Islay whisky before and I remember that I was not overly impressed at that time. I was more into sweet whiskies like Dalwhinnie and Balvenie. Apparently I was not ready for it back then but over the years smoky whiskies started to appeal more and more to me. I have a Bowmore now and then especially some of the more aged whiskies. That said I still prefer Laphroaig and Ardbeg over any other Islay single malts.
This single malt is filled with maritime flavors that slowly develop in your mouth. Most dominant are smoke, salt, seaweed, and there is also hints of sherry. I find it a very good traditional Islay single malt that don’t impress you too much with neither complexity nor smoothness.
VERDICT: A good Islay that stands its ground with a tsunami of maritime flavors. Despite its lack of complexity and smoothness I have a sweet spot for this dram, maybe primarily because it has been with me for so long.
I think the 12-year old Bowmore is an underrated malt. But I would like to see them up the ABV. Normally, I don’t whine about ABV too much, but I currently have an independent bottling of Bowmore, aged 13 years and 46%, which gives it that something extra over the standard bottling. The flavors behind the peat are more pronounced and the mouth-feel is slightly fuller (and I don’t think it’s all because of that extra year).
Yeah I seriously need to try more Bowmores!! I am thinking about trying the 15 year old with 43% ABV next…