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Bowmore 10 Year Old Tempest

Many goodly creatures here

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@WhiskyBeeReview by @WhiskyBee

11th Jul 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

I found this Batch #3 bottle of Bowmore Tempest at a little mom-and-pop shop on the far south side of Chicago. I’m always on the lookout for liquor stores when driving through unfamiliar neighborhoods, and those rare occasions when I find a little gem alongside the Johnnie Walkers and J&Bs are my motivation for doing so. How semi-limited release whiskies wind up on the shelf at Wally & Flo’s, I’ll never know. (I don’t know if the owners’ names were Wally and Flo, but they sound like liquor-store-owner names more than Percy and Camille.)

I don’t know that I’ve ever had a whisky so balanced between the peat and the sweet. It’s not perfection and nirvana in a bottle, although it’s impressive that the juxtaposition of these flavors works so well. It would probably be an even better dram were it aged a couple more years, but cask strength always helps to compensate for callow youth. Notes based on about the fifth dram from a month-old bottle. For all you burly John Wayne types who like the strong stuff neat, please try at least one dram of the Tempest with a teaspoon of water to unlock the full flavor potential.

Nose: Almost too bold and stinging at first, but after a couple of minutes it goes back and forth between lemony peat and smoky, barbecue peat. Maybe one of the most active noses I’ve sampled, in that there’s something new with every whiff. Oysters and oranges after another few minutes. Pepper, vanilla, and cigars after a few more. An extra-long wait of, say, 20 minutes or more reveals leather, grass, apples, and caramel. Peat and bourbon oak remain constant throughout. A five-star nose all the way.

Palate: Much more one-dimensional than the nose, but I’m not complaining…much. Lots of booze bite at first, even with water. Mostly the same peat profile as on the nose, plus loads of creamy vanilla. Too long on the tongue, however, and some uncomplimentary bitter fruits (over-ripe cherries in particular) emerge, so it takes a sip or two to get the timing just right. This is also the stage wherein the Tempest reveals its immaturity. Another couple of years in the cask might result in something less rough but equally assertive.

Finish: Medium length, a little drying, but not bad. Peat, lemons, saltine crackers, and maybe a touch of canned mixed vegetables. Loud and bold while it lasts.

Each stage of the experience—from nose to palate to finish—may go downhill a bit, but the Tempest remains tempting all through the journey. It may not be “such stuff as dreams are made on,” as Shakespeare said in The Tempest, but it’s good for at least a reverie or two.

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Nemesis101 commented

Interesting review. I tried this a few months ago and got most of the flavours you mention, (although don't recall too much vanilla). Definitely needs water and a bit of breathing time. I do remember when I first sipped it being somewhat disappointed but with time and adjusting expectations I grew to really like this.

I think where my opinion differs is that I like the fact that this is Bowmore at its most honest 'in-your-face' expression - so I quite like the youthful fieriness of it. I think extra maturation would mellow it a bit too much, (and there's already 12yo, 15yo darkest and 18yo in the core range so this gives something unique).

Hope to try Tempest Batch 4 soon.

9 years ago 0

WhiskyBee commented

@Nemesis101 - I wouldn't want to diminish the fire, certainly. I'd just like a little more unity and a little less separation among the many flavors, and a little extra cask time can often help achieve this.

But yours is a valid point. More time can also tame things too much, so maybe 10 years is just right for maximum impact. Tameness seems to be a gripe about the 12 yo among some Connosr members, but that probably has more to do with the 40% ABV than age.

9 years ago 0

marcusaurelius commented

Whiskybee, I wonder if you would like Batch 4/ Dorus Mor. I have a bottle and have enjoyed it very much. From what I have read Forus Mor/batch 4 is much more tame than the other batches. Based on my experience I can attest to that. The peat is very restrained in this batch, but the overall balance is fantastic. I would probably rate batch 4 around the same as you rated batch 3.

9 years ago 0

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