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Bowmore 11 Year old Hart Brothers

Young but nice!

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@Pierre_WReview by @Pierre_W

4th Aug 2016


Bowmore 11 Year old Hart Brothers
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

As we all know, Bowmore distillery is located on Islay, on the South Eastern shore of Loch Indaal, and is said to have been founded in 1779. Today the distillery is owned by Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd, a holding company of the Japanese drinks giant Beam Suntory. This particular bottling was distilled in October 2002 and bottled in February 2014 by Hart Brothers.

The nose is very briny and lightly smoky to begin with, then turns rather sweet and fresh with flavours of malted barley, lemons and a touch of honey. This feels young but nevertheless is a promising start into this tasting session!

The palate is smoky, spicy and quite overpowering due to the high ABV. Adding water provides some relief and brings notes of lemons and oranges to the fore, together with soft smoke and hints of ground coffee. There are also some distinctly grassy notes now, quite pleasant.

The finish is long, salty and dry. The grassy notes are back, together with a good dose of peat smoke.

A fellow malt maniac recommended this particular Bowmore to me and I am glad that he did. Although you can tell that the underlying spirit is not too old, this Bowmore is fresh, vibrant and has a delightful brininess to it. I quite like Bowmore’s 12-year old bottling from their core range, but this is a much more interesting example of how good a younger Bowmore can be. The only caveat that I would add is that the palate needs a dash of water to release its manifold flavours.

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Victor commented

@Pierre_W, I can't stand it any longer! I want to sit down and drink some whiskies with you. This Bowmore looks like it would be a perfect choice for such a tasting. I want to know from my own experience what this one tastes like neat. I respect your taste enormously, and I have greatly enjoyed your whisky knowledge, your company, and your politeness on Connosr. I have no difficulty whatsoever enjoying the company of those whose whisky tastes vary from my own, provided we are all cordial and respectful of each other's tastes and differences. You are the consummate gentleman. And so am I.

So far I have never met a 57% ABV whisky which was overpowering to me due to its alcohol content (though standard 45% ABV Maker's Mark can often be ridiculously heavy on the alcohol greeting). I'd love for you to taste some 70+% ABV bourbons to which I would never add water to counter alcohol concentration, and would sometimes add water only for an exploration of flavour variety. It doesn't even occur to me to add 2 drops of water to 71.5% ABV 2010 George T. Stagg or 73.75% ABV 2012 Abraham Bowman. That 70% alcohol is just invisible, to me, and to most others who drink these particular two whiskeys. But it would probably not be invisible to you.

Here's hoping the day comes!

Thanks once again for another very beautifully done and informative review.

7 years ago 0

Pierre_W commented

Many thanks, again, for your very kind words, @Victor. Indeed we should sit down one day to taste some whiskies together. I do have some interesting stuff in my cupboard, to be tasted on that special occasion, and I do not doubt that so do you. The ABV issue that you brought up is an interesting one. For one, I prefer my whiskies neat whenever possible, and although I have never had the pleasure of sampling a whisky with an ABV exceeding 70%, I have had many that were between 60% and 65% and the best ones among those were just perfect neat; a good example, by the way, is the 20-year old 1981 Rare Malts Rosebank bottling that at an ABV of 62.3% was absolutely stellar neat. The more drinkable a whisky at a high ABV the better its quality, this used to be a mantra of mine, but recently I have come across some specimens that were difficult to handle neat despite a comparatively low ABV, but that turned out to be great when adding a little water. Interesting, isn't it? To be explored on the day when it comes!

7 years ago 0

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