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Some friends and I briefly visited Bowmore in May of this year. We didn't have time to tour the distillery, but browsed the visitor centre, where they had many rare deluxe bottlings on display. The fully stocked bar doles out free drams of Bowmore Legend and 12 Year Old - you could literally sit there and drink all day for free! It's gorgeous, with a whitewashed exterior, and perched right on the shores of Loch Indaal. This whisky has spent three of its fifteen years in Oloroso sherry casks, and is one of the standard core range offered by the distillery.
The colour is a dark copper. On the nose, rich dark chocolate, Turkish coffee, herbal with mint and sage. Lots of dates and raisins. Definite sherry wood influence. With water, the peat takes prescence.
On the palate, many of the same notes with more toffee, buttered dark rye bread and a hint of peat. You really get the oak here. With water, the peat becomes more prominent, as does the malt.
The finish is smokier with a lot of depth. More of the malt comes through, and tannic on the death. This is one of my favourite Bowmores, luxurious but also straightforward, displaying the best characteristcs the distillery has to offer. Sipping this is a lovely way to spend Dec 22nd, with Siobhan and I wrapping Christmas presents and sharing a dram or two.