Sunday, May 13, 2012
Bowmore 15 - Just a little bit of peril
Islay is the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, and is also known as "The Queen of the Hebrides." Its mild climate and rich peaty soil make it ideal for creating whisky, and despite having a population of not much more than 3,000, it's home to no fewer than eight distilleries.
Bowmore, founded in 1779, has survived in a location that has a less than peacefull history. It was ruled - not always peacefully - by the Kings of Norway and Scotland, not to mention various clans (most notably the Campbells of Cawdor and then the Campbells of Shawfield). Today, Islay is a tranquil place. One I would love to visit someday; to tour the distillery, to wander the pubs, and buy a round for the house.
Now, the drink itself is balanced. Normally I don't go for scotch with much smokiness to it, but the 15 year old Bowmore has had enough time in the barrel to absorb just a bit of peril. Actually, two barrels. This scotch is a bit unique as it has been aged initially in an oak bourbon barrel, then later in a oloroso sherry cask. As the name suggests, the color is dark and rich (likely due to the bourbon barrel) and has a brown sugar and fruit taste blended (sherry cask?) with a hint of smoke.
The only con? Its a bit pricey. At about $70 a bottle its the most expensive bottle I've reviewed so far, but if your looking for something different, with a bit from sugar mixed with smoke, then I say give it a whirl if you have the means.
Recommended: Yes, if you dare.
Notes: Brown Sugar, Caramel, lil' smoke
Price: $69 for 750ml