Provenance: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Typology: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing barrells: Ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry
Added coloring: Yes
Average price: € 32.00
Official website: www.bowmore.com
Bowmore prides itself on being the “first licensed distillery on Islay”, because who knows how many unlicensed distilleries there have been before….
And it’s indeed one of the best-known labels and historically with a rather fierce fanbase, although in recent times it has lost much of its lustre, as is often the case with distilleries that make big numbers.
Known for its warehouse built below sea level, compared to its island cousins it’s the one most characterised by the saline and oceanic notes that have bewitched so many drinkers. Obviously, this characteristic has become a branding feature and is sometimes overdone, but marketing stops at no one, not even alcoholics.
This distillery is very active in constantly seeking new expressions, often revising existing ones, in a constant search (and chase) for new market shares, or simply to maintain those already conquered. Sometimes the rebranding is only a façade, others see a more substantial change, which leaves one puzzled to find bottles with different labels but in fact identical in content.
On the other hand, it’s not easy to keep up with the growing consumer demand, and a product whose strength lies in ageing is difficult to produce in larger quantities (and as chance would have it, there are more and more NAS in circulation), and distilleries have to invent something.
When you put your nose to the glass (and don’t dive in!), the salty, oceanic aromas you expect from Bowmore immediately come through, accompanied by peat (gentle and not aggressive), chocolate and a little butter. A sweet and calm aroma, where the typical Islay smoke caresses rather than punching you in the face.
The sweetness lingers on the palate, always accompanied by the well-present smoke and the oceanic salinity, all well blended but somewhat boring. The dram is without flashes, a pandering whisky that wants to please everyone, without pushing any buttons. Pleasant, of course, but not exactly memorable.
In fact, once the dram is over, the scents don’t stay with you for long: sweet smoke, a hint of salinity, which disappear after a short time as if they were in a hurry to go somewhere else.
The 12 year old is one of the distillery’s basic expressions, and as such was created to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, and when the numbers are large it’s very difficult to keep the personality intact.
The Bowmore notes are all there, but they remain almost on the surface, a bit like a Summer rerun of a popular TV show from a few years ago.