Category Archives: Bowmore

Exclusive Malts – Bowmore 11yo – 53.6% ABV


BowmoreIslay region – 53.6% ABV– US only — Price: unknown at this point.

Day 3 of my Exclusive Malts reviews.

On this day we travel to Islay to visit the Bowmore distillery, one of Islay’s most beautiful distilleries.

Most of my favorite bottlings of Bowmore are independent bottlings (a great example was Master of Malt’s 26yo Bowmore – holy crap, that was an amazing, amazing, amazing whisky).

Let’s see how this one plays into the I-prefer-indy-Bowmore-bottlings-playbook…

Bowmore-1On the nose –  Big, smoky, meaty with hints of spent match sticks and balsamic vinegar.

Damp and smoldering (?) cardboard and, deep in the background, UK parma violets, lavender and chrysanthemums.

Burning tires and hints of chicory.   Balsamic reduction and beef ribs and spent cigars.

Bowmore-2This is a big man, male chauvinist pig of a whisky.  In an Archie Bunker sorta way, I dig it so far!

On the mouth – Damp wood, earthy forest floor, farmyard barn on a rainy spring day.

Bowmore-3No heat at all and a great mouth feel!  Campfires and damp tents.  Wow, this is truly yummers.

Chocolate covered pastrami on rye. Like the sandwich has been bronzed in chocolate.

If you could bronze with chocolate (I guess it’d just be called “chocolated” then, right?)…

Bowmore-4Boozed raisins, dates and sulphured figs.

Finish – More of the sulphured figs (add to that apricot).

In sum – Please don’t be scared of this word “sulphured” as this is not a sulphur-y whisky.  Go to your local health food store and buy sulphured dried fruit.  You’ll see what I’m talking about.

This is a massive whisky that has the digestive feel of a fernet branca.  End on a good note, end your evening with this one.

Thanks again to the folks at ImpEx for the sample!

Bowmore’s Ultimate Islay Adventure!

So, who here likes winning stuff?

Bowmore is offering 2 winners the chance to win a 5-day visit to Islay where they (the winners) will experience the Scottish wilderness with a renowned adventurer, take in the spectacular scenery during a photography master class and enjoy VIP touring (and tasting!) at the Bowmore distillery. Full details and entry forms can be found on the Bowmore website and on the Bowmore Facebook page.

Note that to enter the competition you need to be part of Bowmore’s Inner Core (so, expect to sign up for that as part of the entry).

Do yourself a favor and enter to win the competition!!

More details for you (taken right from the Bowmore website):

“Islay is a majestic, weather beaten land combining natural beauty with the rugged outdoors and we want to give two of our friends from around the world the chance to explore our island home on the ultimate Bowmore adventure.

Along with our Brand Advocates Ken Hames and Colin Prior, the winners will enjoy a unforgettable five day trip to Islay, from surviving on an uninhabited island overnight to photographing majestic eagles at dawn, this trip will be the ultimate outdoor lovers adventure around Islay.

After experiencing all the outdoors can throw at you its back to the Bowmore distillery to enjoy your reward. Highlights of your trip will include:

•  Dawn Islay photography master class with Colin Prior

•  Construction of a hide with Ken Hames

•  An overnight expedition to the island of Scarba

•  Foraging for lunch 

•  VIP tour and an in-depth tasting at Bowmore including some very 

   special expressions”

Also, I’ll be running a competition myself giving away a “Bowmore Accessory Pack.”  Details to follow in the coming days…

It’s not everyday that I get a mention on Islay’s “The Ileach” newspaper…


Special thanks to my good friend Andy for pointing this one out to me and sending the pic (as blurry as it is)!

Oh, and in other news, Bruichladdich just sold to Remy Cointreau…

In case you missed my Islay Distillery/Rock Band comparison posts, here is a link to each one:

  1. Part one:Bruichladdich as The Sex Pistols
  2. Part two: Ardbeg as Slayer
  3. Part three: Caol Ila as The 80′s (They get their very own decade!)
  4. Part four:Bowmore as David Bowie
  5. Part five: Kilchoman as the Jackson Five (somewhat fitting, in retrospect, with them both bearing the number five).
  6. Part six: Bunnahabhain as R.E.M.
  7. Part seven: Lagavulin as Led Zeppelin
  8. Part eight: Laphroaig as Iggy Pop

Islay distilleries explained thru Rock and Roll comparisons – Part 4 – Bowmore & my review of Dawn, their older Portwood bottling


Islay distilleries and their whiskies explained through Rock and Roll – Part IV (of VIII)

I started this series just four weeks ago and am just so pleased as to how well it’s being received.  Thank you all SO MUCH for tuning in (and commenting) to this series!

So, let’s tally up what’s happened so far.  Part one: Bruichladdich as The Sex Pistols, Part two: Ardbeg as Slayer, Part three: Caol Ila as The 80’s. (They get their very own decade!)

Today in part IV we will have a chance to discover Bowmore’s older “Dawn” bottling.

Whisky aficionado and co-author of the 6th edition of Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky Companion, Bill Meyers, introduced me to this whisky not too long ago.  Thanks again, Bill!  It was one that wowed me at the time.  I liked it enough to seek out a bottle and below are my tasting notes.

My previous posts in this series started off with the whisky review first then the Rock band comparison just after.  I’ll run the entire series this way.  So’s you know…

Bowmore “Dawn” Portwood – 51.5% ABV – $|£ – ??

On the nose — Immediate blast of smoke upfront.  However, as quickly as it hits you, it’s overtaken…

While the smoke remains, it waits patiently in the background as red gem candies and grape soda take center stage.

Coming back — there’s an underlying dankness, or earthy quality, quite like a mix between potting soil and fresh lavender.  The lavender is actually massive here.

This whisky has a lovely sweet and floral nose that’s balanced quite well with the smoke and earthy tones.

On the mouth — Remember that grape soda I mentioned?  It’s here, it’s queer, get used to it!  Queer as in its flavor not being one you’d normally associate with a whisky; especially an Islay whisky.

That lavender is back as well.

The port casks make themselves known with touches of spice on the back of the tongue (plus more of that fresh potting soil – the taste of the smell of, that is).

Spider mums and other flower-like scents.  This is quite the feminine whisky.  Me likey.

Finish — Spicy (lightly so) and with red fruits and just a touch of smoke.

In sum —  Coming back to the nose after every sip and that (sweet) smoke returns in a very nice way.  This is a solid, solid whisky.  If you’ve stayed away from port casked whiskies in the past, this may be one to change your mind and one to search out (just save me a bottle or two…).  I think I’ve discovered why it’s called dawn — this would make a solid breakfast whisky!  Wake, pour, sip and invigorate.


Bowmore – The Band!

I’ll get this one out in the open — I LOVE 70’s and 80’s Bowmore.  90’s Bowmore makes me happy too.  The variations of Bowmore released in the 2000’s+ seem to be a bit all over the place for me – a bit of a moving target.

However there have been some *solid* winners in my eyes.  The Bowmore Tempest releases come directly to mind.  As do Bowmore Dawn (reviewed above), Mariner, 25yo… heck, I really enjoy Bowmore Legend.  One of the most uniquely delicious whiskies I’ve had in years was the 26yo single cask Bowmore put out by Master of Malt (so G-d darned brilliant a whisky!!).

There are also Bowmore whiskies that I find to be ok but not overly thrilling – Bowmore 12, 15 and 18yos come to mind.  Decent whiskies but they don’t excite me like other Bowmores do…

While I may not be overly thrilled with that portion of their current standard range, I have a feeling that the addition of Rachel Barrie to the Bowmore team will put a shine upon their whiskies like we’ve not seen in a few years.  Alongside Dr. Bill Lumsden, Rachel Barrie has done some solidly good things during her time at Glenmorangie and Ardbeg.  Rachel, I can’t wait to taste all of the good whiskies that will come from Bowmore under your watch!

So, who are you, Bowmore??

I am actually reminded of David Bowie when I think of Bowmore.  With his every changing styles/fashion and outfit coupled with a good mixture of some of the best Rock and Rock to come out in the 70/80’s (followed by some albums later in his career, during the 90’s and 2000’s, that were not up to par with the his earlier work but still pretty damn good).  Not only am I a fan of 70’s glam, I’m a total Bowie Junkie.

Like Bowie, Bowmore is some something that others strive to be like but just can’t match.  Are you Hunky Dory or just Aladdin Sane?

The Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society hosts a VIP distillery tour of Scotland (August 12 – 19, 2011) with a Jewish twist!

Have you ever wanted to do a whisky tour of Scotland?  A VIP whisky tour of Scotland?  Perhaps (if you’re Jewish) you wanted to experience Shabbat in Scotland and maybe do kiddush over a fine single malt.  Well, this tour is for you!

Here are the details at a glance (As of May 23rd, 2011, there are only 2 seats left):

Fly into Glasgow on August 12th for an 8 day Whisky tour of Scotland with a Jewish Twist.
VIP tours and stops at the following distilleries:
  • Arran
  • Ardbeg
  • Balvenie
  • Bowmore
  • Glenglassaugh
  • Glenmorangie
  • Lagavulin
  • Laphroaig (this is not a tour but a stop at the shop & distillery)
  • Talisker
  • Plus many more surprises!

What the JSMWS will take care of:

  • Accommodation for 8 nights
  • Breakfast each morning
  • All the driving
  • Shabbatot in Glasgow at the reform synagogue (though you’re more than welcome, if you’re not Jewish and prefer not to attend services, we understand)
  • Ferry to/from Arran & Islay
  • VIP tours of several whisky distilleries (as listed above)
  • Kosher requirements
  • The entire whisky experience

All you have to take care of:

  • Flights to/from Glasgow
  • Lunch & evening meals
  • Personal purchases
  • Having a wonderful time

This 8-person, 7 day (or 8 days if you choose to stay for the Glenrothes tour which was recently added to the agenda yet not on the PDF brochure linked here and below).  Whisky tour of Scotland costs $2500 per person and is based on two people sharing accommodation.  As of May 23rd, 2011, there are only 2 seats left.

Click the image below for a more detailed brochure.