Show rating data charts
Distribution of ratings for this:
Bowmore is a dichotomous distillery for me. It’s been on my radar since my first whisky mentor showed me his bottle of Black Bowmore (not opened, sadly). Then, I found a bottle of Laimrig in Calgary (I think in 2012), and in order to prepare myself for it I bought a mini set of 12, 15 and 18. To say I was not impressed is putting it politely. But the Laimrig was fabulous, and I have sampled other cask strength Bowmores, like Tempest, which have been excellent. So I think that when they put an effort in, Bowmore can provide excellent results.
In February, long after I stopped lamenting the fact that I had missed out on getting one, someone, for reasons I will never fathom, returned a bottle of this expression and I was able to get it at its original price. Recent googling suggests that this bottle is now worth at least twice what I paid for it. So is it worth opening?
Only one way to find out. Yes, obtaining a sample form someone else! I had tried an earlier version thanks to @Talexander, but I set up a Tempest swap (5 for 6) with @Cricklewood and one of the “players to be named later” was a small sample of DC III, which I now review. I do not know how long the bottle was open but I opened the sample bottle for the first time today.
This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
Neat, sherry on first pour, then peat. I get dark fruits. Some smoked ham. Not unlike Laimrig (except the ham). I get a hint of the smell you find in a fish store. Very sweet interplaying with savoury. Very pleasant nose that just gets better and better over half an hour (before tasting) . After tasting I also get cherry Kool-Aid (diluted like they do at camp).
With water and with time, the savoury aspect becomes more pronounced. I get lox (smoked salmon, that I’ve only once before smelled in a Bowmore). 22.5/25
Neat, remarkably subdued first sip, with red berry notes (cherry and raspberry). Sweet. A little sherry. Surprisingly less complex on the palate than it was on the nose.
With water, sweeter, more fruity arrival, and more of a sherry character than neat. Also I get a chalky sensation. Becomes a little thin in the mouthfeel. A little menthol. 21.5/25
Neat and with water, the peat becomes more prominent in the finish. Dry, ashy. Nice, long. 22/25
The nose promises a little more than the palate delivers. I like the balance between the sweet sherry and the peat, but I think a few more darker fruits would have made this a touch better. 22/25
Score: 88 /100
I like this. It gets better after an hour or so in the glass. Head to Head with Laimrig IV I think Laimrig has the edge. They have the same overall score but I think the Laimrig has improved since I reviewed it.
So is it worth opening? If I thought it would be something enjoyed by a group of people who could really appreciate it, yes. But aside from the ham and raw fish (in a good way) it doesn't have much that I can't get, and better, from Laimrig.
I only have the one, but if I could, at it's current value on the secondary market, trade it for something else that I didn't have or coveted (like a good Stagg), I might be sorely tempted.