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Bowmore 12 Year Old

Hard to beat

4 1384

@conorrobReview by @conorrob

7th Apr 2020

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

So I opened a bottle of one of my all time favourite daily drams yesterday, and whilst browsing through my old reviews I realised I had missed this one! The shame!

So it's time to put that right.

Nose Well balanced with both savoury and sweet elements. The smoke is up front but not overpowering, instead it works to frame the flavour profiles that lurk beyond. Ripe green apple... also stewed with cinnamon. Caramel as it cooks. A very subtle waft of smoked ham with maybe a sprinkle of cayenne pepper?

Palate Oily and chewy with plenty of caramel, mossy earth notes, bitter green cooking apples and a healthy serving of oaky smoke. There's less here than is suggested by the nose but it delivers.

Finish The finish is simple and oily.. it's sweet and smokey... the sweetness carried by orange.. both elements linger for quite some time for a younger expression.

Conclusion Satisfying is how I would describe this whisky. It is not, and has never been (in my experience) a class topping dram. But what it is, is done wonderfully. It's cheap, has plenty of character but remains (for an Islay) simple and accessible at the same time. I cannot imagine a time where a bottle of this isn't close at hand or even open in my cupboard, and at this price... why would I ever have to.

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13 comments

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

Thanks for your review. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one here who enjoys Bowmore. I know a few doctors, erm, I mean people here who don’t like this one at all.... wink

about one month ago 4Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

Nice review. I think it is great to pay tribute to a whisky that, while not exceptional, has special place in your cabinet.

I feel this way about certain whiskies too so I can understand.

That said, if you invited me over and left a bottle of this unattended, it would be safe with me...

Tempest or Laimrig on the other hand....

about one month ago 3Who liked this?

@conorrob
conorrob commented

@OdysseusUnbound Bowmore for me is the easy Islay ... I'm a simple man with simple pleasures ... this happens to be one of them

about one month ago 3Who liked this?

@conorrob
conorrob commented

@Nozinan I completely agree with that .. we spend more time with those unexceptional cabinet whiskies than we do any other and yet it's easy to overlook them.

:-D I'd imagine this one will be open for a good few months ... but its older brother the 15 is ready to take its place and that's one I really enjoy. Never had the pleasure of trying the Tempest but I have seen a rather well priced one just a 30 mile drive from me ... based on your comment I may have to see if it's still available after the four horsemen have passed.

about one month ago 2Who liked this?

@cricklewood
cricklewood commented

Nice review, It's well said sometimes we tend to overlook these tried and true whisky, for me it's often the fact that I don't drink much so have to use my allocation wisely. That said I've gotten along well with bottles of Bowmore 12 and have been surprised by some. It reminds me of a bottle of Bowmore Small batch that was given to me by my brother some time back, I neglected it as I felt it was rather ho-hum but damn the final drams were delicious and I suppose it was an evening where I was receptive to it's charms.

That said if you can acquire a bottle of Tempest at a reasonable price it's well worth the experience.

about one month ago 3Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

@Nozinan I wish I had Tempest or Laimrig in either hand.

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

@conorrob Do it. If you have Tempest or Laimrig somewhere in your universe, grab it.

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

@conorrob
conorrob commented

@BlueNote Not sure if this much matters but its batch 2 ?

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@conorrob - Nice review. I've had a bottle of this unopened for over two years now and keep meaning to open and try my first Bowmore (shocker!). Your review has definitely bumped it up the order ...

about one month ago 2Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@conorrob Correct. It does not matter. There may be mild batch variations but they are all good.

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

@conorrob
conorrob commented

@RianC Yes you should! Bowmore are a pretty fantastic distillery in general and like these guys have been telling me - there's a couple that should be actively sought out! @Nozinan Appreciate the response thanks man

about one month ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@RianC, I'll chime in on Bowmore. Unlike many, I appreciate the house style and like everything they have to offer which is unsulphured, including even, when in the right mood, a fresh bottle of the dreaded and much hated McClelland's Islay Single Malt. That said the only Bowmores which have generated big enthusiasm from me are Tempest, Devil's Cask, and at least one Independent Bottling whose name eludes me right now.

I find Bowmore 12 OB to be a very nice mild-mannered dram. Ask @talexander. He has to keep Bowmore 12 stocked for his lady, for whom this is her favourite whisky, last I heard. Has that changed, Tom?

Oh, and Bowmore 18 yo OB is just a little bit better than the 12 yo despite a huge price difference. If you like the 12, stick with the 12. Take a sip of the 18 yo and see what I mean.

about one month ago 5Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

I bought a bottle of the 15 recently just to check it out. It’s pleasant enough if a bit weak and kind of flabby on the palate. It lacks a cohesive flavour profile to get your taste buds around. On the positive side, the old FWP days of 10 years ago are gone...thankfully.

about one month ago 2Who liked this?

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