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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.