Bowmore is a distillery with a double soul, especially if you consider independent bottling: sometimes you meet unforgettable distillates, sometimes forgetting is the first thing you want to do as soon as you taste it. Today we see to which of the two categories belongs a Bowmore single cask aged 17 years and bottled in 2007 for The Way of Spirits, that is for the guys who organize the Milano Whisky Festival. The color is light amber.
N: we are welcomed by a very gentle smoke (which, to tell the truth, increases a little bit its intensity over time). There are very pleasant fruity notes: coconut (and vanilla, the two often go hand in hand), generally tropical fruit, ripe pineapple; next to this profile, there are quite strong vegetal notes (aniseed, hay). Brown sugar, meringue, milk chocolate. Licorice. There is absolutely no trace of the soapy profile that often prevails and ruins Bowmore whiskies.
P: without water, it has good body and it is a typical Islay malt! The smoky side is very full and intense (bonfire extinguished), and next to it there is the recognizable marinity of Bowmore: salt, iodine, seaweed. The image of the bonfire is more defined now, with a beautiful beach in the background and a sea breeze that moves the smoke… Romantic drift, ok, sorry. Anyway, the island character is surprising, in a way, because on the nose it almost didn’t smell like a Bowmore. The sweetness is less exuberant, with almond, vanilla, licorice. The vegetable side is back (aniseed, tea, herbs), but there is also a very sharp, very strong pepper: at times it almost tastes like chili pepper. We made the mistake of adding water, so the body got a little lost: above all, however, it is the soap (shaving foam) to emerge, resulting too strong.
F: still very spicy; rather persistent, among peat, smoked, showing very little sweetness.
A good Bowmore, not incredibly complex but well balanced and with some unexpected characteristics that we like very much (a super fruity nose, that spiciness between palate and finish…). We recommend not adding water, partly because there is not much need for it – the alcohol content is not pungent and it is not felt so much -, partly because the hope of opening up new nuances of flavor would be frustrated by that typical Bowmore soap, which is completely absent at cask strength. Our judgment is therefore 85/100.
Recommended soundtrack: Mark Knopfler – Quality shoe (worth mentioning the beautiful photo by Elliot Erwitt on the cover).