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It has been over two weeks since I posted Part I of this (in which I looked at the Bowmore 12) - needless to say, it has been a busy time in work and in life! But on this quiet Thursday night, I have found time to write before I catch up on the Oscar movies I haven't had a chance to watch yet (tonight: Captain Philips).
The Bowmore 18 was launched in January 2007, and is now part of the standard Bowmore range. It is made up of malts from both European and American oak casks, though I'm not sure of the ratio between bourbon and sherry.
The colour is a deep mahogany. On the nose, dark chocolate, saltines, brine and some subtle peat. Floral, with a little coconut. Sultana raisins. Slightly mushroomy, vegetal (asparagus?) Seems slightly imbalanced between the musty earthiness and the floral peat, but regardless, very interesting depth. Water brings a bit more peat forward.
On the palate, a peaty tang with a bit of smoke - again, not quite balanced between the peat, plums, raisins and chocolate. All those elements are quite delicious but the somehow don't quite coalesce. As with the nose - very interesting but not altogether successful. Water doesn't seem to improve the palate, adding a sour note.
The finish is where things get a little rough - damp earth (not quite approaching campfire), chalkiness and that slightly sour note. Somehow three more years did not improve upon the 15 year old (though I am sure the 15 has more sherry cask influence). It also doesn't have the vibrancy of the 12 year old.