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We’ve dabbled with all many Bowmore releases previously — having began with the entry stage 12 year old manner again in 2009 and, most not too long ago, trying out the brand new 30 year old bottling, with loads of particular editions in between.
What we haven’t accomplished is a full have a look at the Bowmore core lineup, and outdoors of varied whisky pageant tastings we’ve by no means formally reviewed the 18 or 25 yr outdated expressions of this smoky Islay basic. (It’s additionally price noting that the model noticed an enormous shakeup in 2017, with the discontinuation of the NAS “Small Batch” bottling and numerous different expressions.)
As we speak we appropriate that oversight, with a have a look at the core vary of 4 single malts from Bowmore as they stand immediately. Let’s go.
Bowmore 12 Years Outdated (2022) – Aged primarily in ex-bourbon barrels. Bluntly ashy with a heavy maritime character, the whisky’s nostril is easy and reasonably peaty, brief on nuance because it takes a deep dive into its earthier parts. The palate’s extra fascinating, however right here we nonetheless discover Bowmore at its most elementary, chewy with notes of burnt wooden and forest flooring, although a dusting of lemon pepper late within the recreation brightens issues up on the end. This finally comes throughout as entry-level Islay, which is precisely what it’s. By no means dangerous, however there’s extra pleasure accessible from different Islay whiskies at this value stage. 80 proof. B / $63 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS] [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]
Bowmore 15 Years Outdated (2022) – Bowmore dropped the “Darkest” from the identify of this whisky some years in the past, however in any other case it’s related (or the identical) juice, its darker coloration owing to obviously prolonged oloroso sherry cask ending. It’s nonetheless undoubtedly “darkish,” a ruddy amber in comparison with the 12 yr outdated’s rose gold hue. The sherry sits heavy on the nostril right here, sharply nutty and citrus-laden, washing out a lot of the peat. It’s nonetheless amply smoky beneath, however extra balanced by the sherry, abandoning a observe of black cherry wafting within the glass. The palate is way sweeter than the 12, fruity with distinct orange notes and hints of almond. The peat kicks in from there, washing over the tongue with waves of contemporary seaweed and iodine — much less overtly ashy and brooding than the 12. Barely oxidized on the end, with mild notes of raisins and caramel sauce taking you out. Nonetheless one in every of my favourite Bowmore releases; it’s a whisky that basically advantages from that further time in sherry casks. 86 proof. A- / $95 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY] [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
Bowmore 18 Years Outdated (2022) – This whisky launched in 2007, changing Bowmore 17 Years Outdated. Additionally aged in bourbon and sherry casks, with no extra info accessible. The peat is tempered additional on the nostril right here than within the 15 yr outdated, although time in glass provides it a richly layered aroma of stewed fruits and smoked meat, all in a swirl. Gently pruny on the palate however layered with ash, iodine, and a sprig of petrol, the whisky has a lot to get pleasure from however not a ton to outright love. Gently sherried, nutty parts are tempered by a doughy character with a chewy consistency — which might be nice if there was right here extra to chew on. That acquainted, basic Bowmore ashiness dominates the end and retains the complete expertise at arm’s prolonged. 86 proof. B+ / $153 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS] [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]
Bowmore 25 Years Outdated (2022) – Aged in bourbon and sherry casks; no further knowledge included. The oldest whisky within the core Bowmore vary affords a peppery nostril that’s heavy with sherry, coming throughout right here in additional of an oxidized PX type, loaded with roasted nuts and deeper wine notes. The palate continues the theme, large with that wealthy sherry affect plus a cola character. There’s a lingering ashiness right here that provides it a barely sooty character, although that is shortly tempered by notes of darkish chocolate and stewed prunes. The end is lighter in tone, extra milk chocolate than darkish, with lingering florals a little bit of a shock to take issues out. It’s extra partaking than the 18 yr outdated by a mile… however you’ll pay dearly for the improve. 86 proof. A- / $530 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]