Bowmore Distillery Island of Islay Scotland

Bowmore 17yo White Sands

Review of the Bowmore 17yo White Sands special edition, not easily available.

Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Gradation: 43%ABV
Ageing barrells: Ex-Bourbon
Chillfiltered: Yes
Added coloring: Yes
Owner: Suntory
Average price: € 97.00
Official website: www.bowmore.com
Vote: 78/100

And here we find another Bowmore on these pages, a label loved by many (including our own Bevitore Squattrinato), whose personality is certainly unique and easily recognisable over time.
It’s difficult to add anything else about the oldest distillery on Islay, which, despite the various changes of ownership (which ended in 1994 in the strong Japanese hands of Suntory), has managed to keep certain production traditions unaltered.

This bottling dates back to 2014, distributed as part of the Travel Retail series along with Black Rock and Gold Reef.
The only one of the three to have a declared age, it spent its ageing period in the famous Vault No.1, the oldest warehouse with a rammed earth floor below sea level on the island, and the distillery is very keen to make it special.

Tasting notes

With such significant ageing, it’s regrettable that they didn’t have the courage to retain the natural colour, leaving this rich gold in debt to caramel.
The peat greets the nostrils festively as soon as you approach the nose, overtaken almost immediately by a pleasant fruity, tropical note, very warm and soft, accompanied by the (almost cloying) sweetness of toffee. The peat really fades in a flash, you have to look for it under this blanket of molasses, but it’s there. Strangely enough, there is no marine or salty profile, at least for me.
You find it on the palate, where the tropical fruit (more balanced than on the nose) lies on a salty note that isn’t very accentuated, with the smoke always light, almost ethereal, in the background. The white sands referred to in the name (in reference to those of the Laggan Bay coast on Islay) would lead you to think of a strong marine profile, especially considering the ageing in Vault No.1, but here it’s the fruity sweetness that dominates. As you let the whisky breathe, the peat becomes (pleasantly) more present, taming the sweetness on the palate.
The finish is unexpectedly bitter and dry, with the smoky note lingering quite long.

A totally different whisky from what I expected, less bold and complex than I would have thought. An unusual Bowmore but, given the price, little more than a curiosity worth tasting but not a whole bottle.

Other bottlings in the blog:
Bowmore 12yo
Bowmore 15yo
Bowmore 18yo Travel Retail
Bowmore 19yo French Oak Barrique
Bowmore N°1
Bowmore Small Batch
Bowmore Vault Edition – First Release
Bowmore Vault Edition – Second Release
Cadenhead’s Bowmore 17yo

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