You might think that Bowmore 100 Degrees Proof is 50% ABV, but then you'd be wrong: this measure is going by the Imperial definition of proof, which is the percentage of alcohol which is necessary to light with gunpowder (which sailors would use to make sure their rum rations weren't being watered down). Pretty sure they weren't drinking Bowmore in the Royal Navy, but hey, who knows. This bottling is non-chill-filitred, no age statement and is only available through travel retail. This comes to me from Pamela Singh (to whom I gifted a bottle for Christmas!) She is drinking some with me, as we speak.
The colour is a light-to-medium gold, slightly cloudy. On the nose, the dominant notes are caramel and vanilla. Light milk chocolate. Peat smoke comes up from the background and prickles the nose. A bit of furniture polish. Quite floral, with a mentholated sweetness - and much more so with a drop of water (which it really doesn't need - hard to believe this is 57.1% ABV). Nice but not distinctive for me.
On the palate the peat is more upfront, and again there is lots of caramel and vanilla. Very briny, even more than most Bowmores I've had. Mouth-watering and a bit oily. An herb garden in your mouth. The oak is very gentle. With water it gets spicy - a real surprise!
The finish is rather minty (almost soapy) with more peat and light butterscotch. It's a perfectly fine Bowmore, especially on the palate, where all the peat and brine really come alive; too bad it's dogged by a toothpaste finish. Let's see how it compares to a much older, and more long-ago-bottled, expression...