Bowmore Distillery Bottlings Tasting Notes

Posted: August 17, 2011 in Bowmore

Bowmore Small Batch Reserve 40%

First and second fill Bourbon

Tasted: Sept 2014

The nose is oily and young with plenty of citrus and ‘off the still’ notes. Quite estery with pineapple, lime and lemon along with manure soil and peat.

The palate is vague, watery and oily with some pleasant citrus and coal smoke. The intensity builds and the finish is a little on the hot side and back end loaded with citrus cough drops, manure and straw and pleasantly youthful herbal-peat notes in the finish.


Bowmore 10 year old ‘Tempest’ Batch 1 55.3%

First Fill Bourbon/ Tasted: Feb 2010

A delicate, marine infused nose, developing citrus, orange blossom, candied vanilla oak and burnt toffee. The nose like the 12 yearold – all very civilized. With time the fruit takes on an almost tropical character and gets sweeter and more candied as the buttery oak pushes forward.

The palate is soft and has that candied sweetness, opening with light citrus followed by the creamy oak, brine and a touch of honey. Then the peat smoke hits the mid palate in all its menthol/ eucalyptus glory. Ah so now it’s beginning to live up to its name. Once the intense alcohol passes it leaves behind a rubbery/ bracken, tarand soot finish. This is more like it – an almost ‘old skool’ Bowmore which leaves the tongue coated in a sooty/ peaty/ smoky residue.

With water the nose show’s considerably more orange fruit, although it becomes a bit light weight – less of a tempest and more of a slight squall. The palate is similarly light weight, maybe there is more of a coastal influence, yet there’s no muting of the sooty/ coal dust element. A definite step up from the 12 yearold, which neat shows a great deal more of the wild and smoky character that first got me into Bowmore!

Bowmore Tempest Batch 2 10 year old 56%

First Fill Bourbon/ Tasted: Feb 2011

The colour is a lot darker than batch 1. The palate is crisp, fresh and mentholated but with plenty of robust oak vanillins, more so than batch 1. It is also oilier and peatier than batch 1 with a greater degree of phenolic citrus as well. It’s a lot butcher and a lot more like the Bowmore of old. Lovely balance with the peat smoke turning drier and some bog myrtle notes becoming apparent. With time the fruit takes on a lovely perfumed sheen.

The palate is definitely ‘old skool’ and opens up with plenty of peat dust, soot and pepper. This knock spots of batch one and the current distillery 12 yearold. In fact doing a comparative tasting batch 1 seems almost smokeless! Very citrusy with a serious intensity of coastal notes on the middle. The smoke coats the mouth and the complexity is very impressive with hints of bog myrtle, nettles, iodine and light seaweed. Superb length the saline lemon fruit lingering.

Water surprisingly mutes the nose somewhat and makes it very oily, also one gets the impression that the oak has closed in on the spirit. On the palate it takes the edge of the intensity and emphasises the bitter oak which when combined with the salt and citrus makes it extremely drying, also the peat character diminishes somewhat as well, thus drink it neat.

Bowmore 10 year old ‘Tempest’ Batch 3 55.6%

Bourbon/ Tasted: June 2012

The nose is quite heavy in the peat department with medicinal notes. There is no shortage of fish oils along with some slightly sugary barley bits an peat smoke. However the oils really dampen the nose and it’s the least impressive of the three releases.  

Again the palate is very much like the nose – oily! There is a touch of peat, barley and some sweet bits along with lemon cough sweets and fisherman’s friend’s notes but the oils again dampen. 

A drop of water causes the peat smoke to vanish and the oils to increase. The same happens on the palate and it does now show a semblance of coastal character but also some cardboard notes too. All in all very disappointing.

Bowmore Tempest 10 year old ‘Batch 4’ 55.1%

Tasted: Dec 2013

Oily and very lightly windswept to begin with on the nose with some creamy, toffee’d American oak, fragrant honey and very gentle peat. Lightly herbal with a touch of iodine and bog myrtle, but unfortunately the toffee’d oak is rather dominating. 

The palate is quite sweet and vanilla’d with hints of tar and again the peat is so delicate, it barley registers of the peat scale! Some light spice appears as the saltiness builds on the middle. After the nose I thought the palate was going to be over oaked but the alcohol, salt and citrus notes freshen the finish, but then it finishes pretty dry. 

A drop of water emphasises the oils (lanolin) and makes the oak very buttery. The palate is now swathed in the creamy, caramely oak and makes the palate feel pretty straightforward. Less old skool and more modern Bowmore than previous batches. 

Bowmore Tempest 10 year old ‘Batch 5’ 56.9%

Tasted: Oct 2014

The nose opens with dusty, sweet peat with hints of white fruit, apricot and plenty of brine. A lovely nose with a good earthy character and robust fruitiness. With time some oily, marzipan oak notes appear. 

The palate is soft and fruit layered with apricot, tangerine and white fruits. Gentle, dusty peat and sweet vanilla oak follow. An intense lime note appears on the middle along with a touch of iodine and peat. Long, salty finish with lingering oak notes. A huge improvement on the previous batches. 

With water the nose becomes more briny and citric. The oak takes on a toffee’d character but the robustness of the spirit hasn’t been compromise. On the palate the oily marzipan oak has come to the fore. Still earthy with a little toffee appearing. Like the nose it has emphasised the citrus, but the peat has become a distant echo.


Bowmore 12 year old 43%

Tasted June 2003

A lovely, complex nose of sherry, smoke, seaweed and iodine along with a twist of lemon. The palate is exuberantly smoky with peat and earth notes. Quite rich with honey, heather and hints of lemon lockets on the middle. The finish is pure charcoal-peat. A smoky monster that will put hairs on your chest!

Bowmore 12 year old (New Label) 40%

Tasted: Nov 2009

Very oily coastal orange fruit to begin with, followed by barley, light peat smoke, honey, fish, brine and hints of spices and menthol. The sherry sits pleasantly in the background and supports. One wonders where the intense peat smoke of old has gone?

The palate is dry, soft and a bit fluffy to be honest. Still oily with light peat, barley, menthol/ eucalyptus and hints of fisherman’s friends, which leads into a coal/ charcoal dust middle. This must be the politest Bowmore I’ve ever tasted, dare I say elegance has replaced its manly charms? The finish is very long with an intense saline finish and returning coal dust after taste.

Bowmore 13 year old ‘Maltmen’s Selection’ 54.6%

Tasted: Feb 2012

Pungent, dense, , rich aromas of Oloroso sherried fruit, bog myrtle and herbal peat. Quite dark and malty with treacle-toffee and liquorice. A drop of water brings out some fragrant orange fruit along with a touch of mature honey. Superbly complex with the emphasis now on the rather pleasant spicy/ cindery notes.  

The palate is dry, dusty and quite alcoholic. Gentle yet pungent peat mingles with some juicy sherried fruit, liquorice, treacle and tar. Water makes the palate lusciously fruity and a tad sweeter. The sherry has become more nutty in character and slightly toasty too! Good length with the sherry notes lingering and a touch of burnt wood creeping in. Dilution allows some coastal notes to come through as well as accenting the spices. Conclusion: Gently peated and rather wonderful!

Bowmore Darkest 15 year old 43%

Sherry Finished/ Tasted: Jan 2013

Nose: Exceedingly oily – linseed and castor oil. Lightly fishy with some oiled, burnt wood, raisinated fruit, syrupy sweet sherry wood plus hints of herbs and smoke. With time the oak becomes the dominant feature.  

Palate: Soft and oily opening with sweet sun dried raisins and citrus peel. Relatively woody with some gentle sherry wood spices, syrup, peat smoke and light coastal nuances. Like the nose the sweet sherry oak is dominant.  

Finish: Good length, lightly mouth-watering and all sherry, but a pleasant violety after-taste  

Conclusion: For me too heavily sherried, but blemish free.

Bowmore 15 year old ‘Laimrig’ 53.7%

Finished in Sherry Butts/ Tasted: July 2014

Nose: Great nose! Dry, herbal and smoky with sweet orange and hints of menthol and eucalyptus. Lightly earthy with gritty coffee’d tannins. All the while the gentle smoke hovers in the background. With time a touch of lanolin, dry spice and straw appears. Water makes it a little less edgy and brings out the sugar coated dried orange/ Satsuma and a light molasses note. 

Palate: Very grainy and very tannic. Coffee laced treacle with hints of molasses, menthol and dried tea leaves, which become very cold tea-like towards the middle and where did that metallic astringency come from? Water doesn’t help it just emphasises the cold tea and metallic notes!  

Finish: Intense, alcoholic and mouth puckering. Quite herbal with the alcohol masking, although a little sweet, raisinated fruit comes through. Diluted it’s still very dry but a slight coffee note appears now.  

Conclusion: Great nose, but it all went downhill from there. A palate to give you nightmares!

Bowmore 17 year old 43%

Tasted Sept 2003

A mature, lightly smoked  nose with hints of ripe fruit and flowers. The palate is wonderfully complex, full of mature honey, juicy malt, seaweed, toffee, citrus and lazy background smoke. Long, mellow and understated finish with a touch of peat  lingering at the finish.

Bowmore 18 year old 43%

Tasted: Nov 2009

A toffee/ caramel overload! You really have to sniff quite hard to get past all of that but there is some leafy herbal notes along with some gentle, dry and dusty peat smoke and some light briny fruit.

The palate is full and toffee rich, and unfortunately it does flatten and subdue the palate. However given some time and ruminating a bit of bright orange fruit appears as does some pleasantly dusty peat smoke on the middle. The intensity slowly builds with some salinity and a perfumed note. In fact it becomes quite sweet towards the end, finishing with some wood notes. In conclusion it starts rather dull but it does build rather well.


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