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Bowmore doesn’t always please the enthusiasts. Aside from the house style (not everyone’s cup of tea), they are also frequent offenders with regards to chill-filtration, caramel-colouring, and low abvs (the horror!). But there are a few alternatives out there, and you don’t need to run to the IB’s. Aside from some mild colourant, this one is on the level. A 10 year old first-fill bourbon-matured Bowmore at 55.1%. Cool. Here's my take on batch IV.
Nose: Pretty direct and punchy. Honey, peat, vanilla, leather, brine, banana, lemon zest, heather, hay, and white pepper. Musty.
Palate: Richly textured. Again, very punchy. Big honey, vanilla, and grass. Smoke, peat, leather, lemon lozenges, and earth.
Finish: A long, steady finish. Rich, creamy vanilla, banana, honey, ginger, musty leather, lemon lozenges, brine, white pepper, paprika, and a biting grassy note.
Thoughts: It’s not charming, but it is rugged and honest, and it’s consistent from nose to finish. Nice to have a Bowmore that’s cask strength and non chill-filtered. Yes, it has some sharp edges, but it’s a welcome escape from the standard Bowmores. This is a bigger whisky, with a honeyed sweetness and a musty, punchy profile replacing the customary fruity finish or heavy oak influence. At least we’ve still got all that leather. Powerful stuff, and yes, kind of crude. Good, though.