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Bowmore Distillery Island of Islay Scotland

Bowmore Vault Edition – First Release

Review of the first bottle of four dedicated to Bowmore's Vault No. 1.

Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Gradation: 51.5%ABV
Ageing barrells: Ex-Bourbon
Chillfiltered: N/A
Added coloring: Yes
Owner: Suntory
Average price: € 115.00
Official website: www.bowmore.com
Vote: 87/100

Among aficionados, Bowmore, Islay’s oldest distillery, is best known for Vault No. 1, a three-storey barrel storage facility whose lowest rammed-earth floor is below sea level and dates back to the distillery’s foundation (the official year is 1779).
The walls, on which the waves of the Atlantic break on the outside, are very thick and encrusted with salt, and exude humidity, while the atmosphere inside is cold with a hint of saltiness in the air. These microclimatic conditions inevitably influence the distillate that ages there.
Beyond the inevitable commercial speculation, this is a truly fascinating place (we say this from direct experience) which, although not accessible to tourists, who are only allowed a glimpse from behind the gates, communicates a sense of mystery and poetry at the same time. In this space, alien to the tribulations of man, where the laboured breath of the world does not seem to be able to penetrate, the alchemical dialogue between whisky and casks appears, more than elsewhere, to be a matter of pure magic.

To Vault Nº1, Bowmore has dedicated a mainstream whisky that for a couple of years now has replaced Small Batch in the official core range: Bowmore Nº1.
It’s a limited edition in four bottlings called Vault Edition, whose intention is to tell, one by one, the specific scents of Bowmore whiskies: the marine one, the peat one, the vanilla aroma and the citric note.
Two have been released so far, one in 2016 and one in 2019.
Today we’re trying the first one, christened Vault Edition Atlantic Sea Salt (the Edition box says Edit1ºn).
This is a NAS, i.e. a whisky with no ageing statement, which comes from ex-Bourbon casks and has been bottled at 51.5% ABV.

Tasting notes

The colour, a beautiful warm gold, is reminiscent of honey.
On the nose, the marine scent translates into a note of smoked salt, with a seaweed background, accompanied by a rather strong impression of dehydrated apricots, a hint of lemon, a touch of honey, and a nuance of wood that could reveal the youth of the whisky. After a few minutes of aeration, there is also a mouth-watering scent of vanilla.
In the mouth, the smoked salt and dried apricots are more intense, especially the latter, with the wood spices not far away tickling the palate.
The finish is medium to long, of smoked salt and dried apricots again.

If the aim was to highlight the influence of the ocean on the aromatic profile of Bowmore’s distillates, it can be said to have been fully achieved, thanks also to a not obvious alcohol content which, both on the nose and on the palate, gives a noticeable boost to the whole.
This Vault Edition Atlantic Sea Salt is undoubtedly a whisky with an extra edge.

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

Other perspectives:
Whisky Analysis

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