Whisky Connosr

Bowmore Legend

Average score from 20 reviews and 76 ratings 74

Bowmore Legend

Product details

  • Brand: Bowmore
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 40.0%

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Bowmore Legend

Last time I tried this young Bowmore, without age statement but with a strong name, was in 2010.

The nose is soft on all kinds of citrus fruit, sweetened with loads of karamel and a lost litchi. The smoke development is soft, somewhat drowned out in the honey and sweet malt.

It is nicely oily on the palate, sweet from the first sip with a lovely salty edge and clear hints of seawater and peat. Reminds me of a smoldering fire on the beach. Actually nicely balanced if you ask me, despite the fact that it is very easy to drink (well, the first does not exclude the second, does it?).

The finish is rather short and the smoke fades quickly, yielding the floor to the sweetness again.

Soft entry level malt at a very good price (around 25 to 35 EUR where I live). There are worse things to start 2017 with. Thanks, Pat.


I was pleasantly surprised with a bottle I picked up for camping with friends. Went back and the store was sold out. Went to another store grabbed a bottle and it wasn't as good. Batches vary evidently. Costs $30 in my state. Good deal. Flavor is fairly complex with caramel, nougat, and hint of high quality peat. Second bottle not as complex with sour alcohol mustiness that was not impressive. First bottle was nice with no cheap alcohol spoilage and very little E150a. Paler color as well. If Legend always tasted that good it would stay in my cabinet. The second bottle got vatted with a better higher ABV malt to pull it up a bit. I am rating the first bottle.

As Elvis Costello sings, "accidents will happen." Thanks to Bowmore for getting it right (by accident?). Ha! Maybe so. I used to love your whisky in the early 2000s. Higher offerings used to be really good. I tasted an old malt cask bottled in 2000 at a friends house last winter. It blew me away. Fantastic stuff. Made me long for the good ole days when this distillery shone like a beacon of quality and brilliance

Sorry ABV was 40 not 43. Damn that first bottle was tasty for the price!


A basic Islay, but offers much as a lighter easy drinking peaty whisky. Nose: Smoked herring and peat smoke Taste: Salty, malty, peaty but light and appetising at the same time. Finih: Salt and smoke. Pleasant but short.

I totally agree! For the price, which is very low indeed - 18 euro in a french supermarket - I think that this is a lovely easy nicely peated sipper, with a good balance between sweet and peat. I like Bowmore a lot more than many people seem to though, which I often find surprising. This is a really comforting little whisky on a Sunday evening.


"Young" Bowmores polarise whisky lovers. "Young", depending on who uses the word with respect to Bowmore malts, can mean 5 years, 8 years, 12 years, or even 15 years of wood aging. Many cannot abide the 5 YO Bowmore malt comprising McClelland's Islay Single Malt Whisky. A somewhat lesser number place this 8 YO Bowmore Legend in the same category of dislike as they regard the McClelland's Islay. A much smaller number feel the same way about the standard distillery bottled Bowmore 12 YO malt. Some also include the 15 YO Bowmore Darkest and other Bowmores of this age among the unacceptable

Whatever it is which some people don't like in the aforementioned Bowmores doesn't really bother me. I respect the individuality of the taste of those who don't enjoy those Bowmores, but I am happy that I am able to enjoy them

The reviewed bottle has been open 3 years, is 95% full, and has been preserved for the last 15 months with inert gas

Nose: leather, salt, medium-intensity peat of a mixed sweet and bitter quality; malt, light smoke. This nose is not a thing of beauty, but it is inoffensive, unless you don't like the leather, which many do not

Taste: in the mouth Legend is much sweeter, much saltier, and somewhat more bitter, than it is in the mouth. The flavours are also much stronger and more pointed in the mouth than they are in the nose. The quality of the flavours is a little rough and ready, lacking smoothness and refinement. Leaving the whisky to gather air in the glass for 20 minutes brings out additional sweetness

Finish: medium-long length of finish; Legend finishes on a lot of sweet and with a good bit of bitter accompanying it

Balance: a good balance of sweet, bitter, and salty flavours is achieved, but the quality of the individual component flavours leaves a good bit to be desired

Can I enjoy drinking Bowmore Legend? Sure I can. I "even" enjoy drinking McClelland's Islay Single Malt Whisky, quite a lot, actually, particularly if the bottle is fresh. Are there many many more refined malts to drink than Bowmore Legend? Yes, there are


This is probably as good a peaty malt as you'll find. I was turned off at first -- too abrasive, too briny. But midway through the bottle I was ready to taste it's rough-around-the-edges charm.

The nose is only mildly peaty, I'd say, with a green apple crispness and lots of wood. Palate is creamier than you'd expect, with sweet notes of butterscotch candy. It takes it's time on the briny finish


I got a gift voucher today from work, got excited, and naturally went to the closest bottle shop at lunch to buy another whisky. I've had a few other Islay experiences in the mid-range so wanted to see how a entry-level product would compare. As they say, without darkness there cannot be light. I read some of the other reviews after my first glass just a little earlier this evening and was very surprised by some of the low scores and tasting notes. Looking at the time stamps, I'm wondering if this is a batch thing?

Anyway, I think this is very drinkable - relatively simple but pleasant enough. It doesn't have the strength of a typical isaly, so would maybe be a good introduction to someone new to the style. What's interesting is the obvious sweetness to the smell and taste, in addition to the salt and smoke I expected. I found the finish to be fairly long and it really just followed the notes from the other senses. Box reads "zesty lemon notes together with a touch of honey", which I'd buy without the tasting experience to really pick out these specific flavours.

The other thing is that this doesn't say "New Label" anywhere, so I wonder if it's a different release compared to the other reviews?

This retails for about $60 in Perth, and I'm thinking I'd probably visit some other bottles before coming back to it again.

Panda, you're probably right in that this is not as good as other Bowmores, of which the only one I've tried was a newly opened 18 year old at a bar. Just poured another Legend, and from memory the 18 was far less one-dimensional, but it took quite a lot of work in the mouth to get the flavours to come out. It felt like it was hiding for a good while, and it really wasn't until the last sip that it started to get tasty. Wouldn't mind giving that or just a 12 a try, but to experiment with this a bit more the plan is to blind test it against a Laga-16, Laph-18 and Laph PX Cask. Will have a better idea afterwards I'm sure, although right now this is tasting a little watery and washed out. Still, I certainly don't taste "used bandaid", "extreme petrol", "rotting plant matter", "rusting copper" or any of the other really nasty descriptors used by older reviews - hence the title and its questioning of the batch!

The Bowmore Legend is just a bad malt and highly inferior to the other standard Bowmore drams. It seems to me that the Bowmore distillery was desperate for cash and decided to flood the retail market with cheap immature malts. It is not undrinkable, but it's a bottle that has been gathering dust in my cabinet


I'm a person who enjoys a good Islay dram. Ardbeg, Lagavulin,etc..all produce fine malts. This was my first experience with Bowmore and will probably be the last. I have never encountered in my adventures, a more foul tasting dram than this. Really, shockingly bad. I bought it two years ago at Bevmo for $25. Revisiting it tonight, I am reminded of why this bottle is almost intact and wonder why it's still even in my cabinet.

Nose: Peat, Smoke, Medicinal, Bog, Salty, Petrol, Gasoline, Iodine.

Taste: I don't know how to describe this in more gentle terms so I'll just have at it. Like chewing on rotting plant matter, not to mention the salt is overbearing. If you like gargling (and drinking) salt water this is for you. As if that isn't bad enough these two tastes are followed by a hard metallic note that hits right at the back of the mouth. If you ever smelled rusting copper this is exactly how this tastes.

Finish: A hard swallow. By this I mean it's a pain to even get it down. The finish is Salty, extremely Petrol, Medicinal, Iodine, Smoke.

Really, to think this is only $25 might sound like a positive, but for $25 I could of bought perhaps a Glenlivet 12 at K&L. Nothing more to add Bowmore Legend, what an unfitting title.

@CPTFELZ I'll be tasting this once again soon. Just to get to the bottom of this. Slightly discourage by your comment. @Victor In my experience a bottle has only changes when I've drunk a significant part of it. This is still around 85% full. However, it is a valid point. Maybe the angels where greedy and took more than their share this time. I'll be reevaluating this one. I also agree with your last comment. Taste is an individual preference. Some people are still scratching their heads and wondering how Murray gave Thomas Handy the world whisky award.

There is something about these young Bowmores that a lot of people can't stand. I know @JeffC greatly dislikes the 'leathery' note in them, especially in the McClelland's Islay. The Bowmore Legend is not far different from the McClelland's. That particular note doesn't bother me personally, which I guess is a benefit to me in being able to drink them and get some enjoyment from them. I notice that Mr. Murray thinks more highly of the young Bowmores than do most Connosrs. Taste is individual.


Bowmore Legend – a budget Islay single malts on the market for less than US$30.00, no age statement, nice pale amber color (I wonder how it would be without the caramel. Nose: curiously, there is no overwhelming peatiness in this whiskey. My impression is that there are some notes of fruits, mainly pears, even a whiff of sherry, almost a little bit sour, or is this my stuffy nose? Anyway, this is different from the comments of someone on the internet who said that it smells like soaked band-aid. He even said it tastes like that, but I seriously doubt if he has ever had a try on bandages… Palate: now, the peat is there, not too pungent, maybe a tad watery, giving way to sugary (not honeyed) sweetness, mingled with cold, stale smoke, but not too bad. Finish: the smoke lingers on, but there is not much more in it, rather one-dimensional. This is my first Bowmore in ten years. The last one I had was an old-style Bowmore Surf, better than this one, saltier and with a better balance between sweetness and peat. In summary, a very drinkable entry-level Islay whiskey, nothing special, without the brutality of a full-grown single malt.

I agree with the review, excellent! Tasting of wet band-aid, what a joke. Maybe that joker that wrote that comment was sifting his dram through a wet band-aid before tasting. More of peat on the palate than in the aroma. I do like the finish of the peat smoke lingering on. Good value. Stay thirsty my friend.


This is my first Bowmore. I went to the liquor shop several times with intension to buy Bowmore 12 but always ended up in buying something different. This time I was advised to try Legend instead of 12yo, so ok, I bought Bowmore Legend to start my experience with Bowmore from the beginning of their regular range.

Well, after trying it I have mixed feelings. In general I quite like the flavors it offers. I also admire it's softness for it's age (8yo?). There are barley sweetness, smoked bacon, some fruits. But they are not quite combined, so to say. It lacks some kind of a binding element (usualy these are spices, peppers?) to be complete. So, it lacks balance. Because of that it is not all that drinkable for my liking.

Nevertheless I give it quite high score for being good bang for the buck and nice entry soft Islay malt.

Will I like Bowmore 12yo more?


The toffee nose is quite nice but then you get something from the sea, iodique, salted... Then the mouth is smokey and turns to pepper, the finish is definitively pepper. I wasn't expected such pepper note and it was too strong to distinguish something else. The finish is definitively pepper an disappointing for me.


Bowmore Legend is a no-age statement fairly cheap Islay malt. I've heard it suggested it's around 7 years old and that doesn't seem to be far off the mark.

It's got taste a-plenty but not much on the finish and very little in the way of complexity. That being said, sometimes it's nice to have a whisky that you don't need to do any work on. As a young (largely impoverished) whisky drinker, it's nice to have something to pass around that friends can drink without a great ritual or fear of breaking the bank.

Onto the whisky:

Nose: There's not a huge amount going on here (then again, my bottle has been open for a fair while). I get some peat, a little salt, some smoke and a smell that reminds me of shoe-shops. Leather? Maybe!

Palate: Lovely. Not a hint of harshness and some lovely smooth smoky flavours running around. Definitely a good winter-warmer. There's a nice bit of honey in there (I'm a big fan of honey if you see my other reviews) and a pleasant saltiness to contrast it with. The second tasting remains very consistent with slightly more saltiness, but no overall change to the whisky after several sips.

Finish: Fairly limited and not terribly long. Essentially it's the same as above but gentler and with no major developments. Personally I think it's nice and smooth, but I understand those that say it's not complex or interesting enough.

The whole whisky revolves around a moderate level of smoke. It's not an ashtray (Coal Ila Signatory 1999!) but it's not a memory of smoke (like in HP12). Legend has a simple, pleasant smokiness and is a lovely everyday dram. It's not something you get excited about drinking all day, but it's something you know you'd life to come back to and relax with.

I'm a fan. I'd also add that if I could be bothered to review a Bowmore 12 it would be at least 15 points lower than Legend, so make sure you have a good think about Legend before launching into 12!

Another thing to note is that Bowmore do cracking packaging. I love the bottle - unpretentious and cool as a cucumber!


This is lovely stuff, smokey and peaty, a bonfire by the sea. There is no great development of flavour or prolonged finish but the basic taste is so good that it leaves my belly full of a warm glow and my taste buds truly satisfied.


This is the no age statement introductory Bowmore which goes for aroud $US 25. I have drank this over the past few months with three other budget Islay malts. In my mind, it is not the best but not the worst. On the plus side, this is an inexpensive Islay. On the other hand, having tried it, it reminds me of a special offering at a fast food restaurant, it lacks complexity, depth, and might tempt you at first but once you've had it you realize there is not a lot there.

The nose has some light smoke and peat and, to me, anyway a lot of leather. From the nose, it is obviously an older (and better) version of the McClelland Islay. From time to time, I get a fleeting, faint (and welcome) honey nose.

The taste is not far off from the nose with an earthy, peaty combination and not much else. The finish is rather short with some salty notes that are prominent.


This was my first venture into Islay malts a year ago...unfortunately. I should have gone with a better introductory whisky, but I just went with the cheapest bottle that said "Islay" on it! Well, I didn't care much for it, so a year after opening this bottle, I still haven't really made a dent in it!

I am planning on giving this bottle to a friend of mine, so I wanted to review it before it is passed on.

Nose: Strong peat. Dirt. Fertilizer. That's it. Very one-dimensional.

Body: Light.

Palate: Intensely smokey. Like holding light, crisp, dirt in my mouth.

Finish: Short finish, but LOTS of peat on the aftertaste.

No sweetness. No vanilla. No honey. No spice. No flavor other than intense peat. If taking a mouthful of dirt is your idea of a good time, then please, try out the Bowmore Legend. ;)

Whatever you do then, do not get the McClellands Islay. I have that bottle as well as the Legend which is apparently an older version of the McClellands. I notice the similarities between the two and like the Legend but the McClellands has all the negative characteristics of Legend magnified times five. I'd try Black Bottle and then perhaps Finlaggan Old Reserve.

Oh, I have Laphroaig Cask Strength and Lagavulin 16, and absolutely love them. I just need something more than JUST peat!


This scotch has an approachable nose, smooth, velvety body, and convincing pallet. The the most notable part? The price tag.

NOTE: Don't add too much water; a small amount adds to the smoothness.


This Bowmore Legend did not get an age stetement, but the resounding name 'Legend' makes your expectations rise. But to no avail, I'm afraid.

You would expect some peat, obviously, cause this is Islay after all, but I also smell smoked ham, rubber, wet carton boxes and even a horse's tail.

It has a nice mouthfeel and is rather oily, tasting of peat with a sweet lining, but he's not as complex as you might expect from a Bowmore.

While the finish is spicy, it's also rather short.

This Legend is most likely rather young, not fully developed and hence unfulfilling. It's a rather common whisky, so I would say 'fairy tale' instead of 'legend'.

Yeah, this is a good dram, but it lacks a little character. It covers the Islay basics - peat smoke, brine and some sweetness, but there isn't much more than that. It's fairly competitively priced, and if you just want an everyday dram, and you are into Islay malts, then this might be worth a look.

this is a nice malt i agree. it's fairly cheap for an Islay malt so price is a major issue here. i wouldn't expect it to be complex, but it has a peaty cough medicine type taste...


This is the third review of my Christmas present from my wife. She said she bought this one when she noticed it was on sale from the online store we buy from (www.nicks.com.au).

The nose is full of the usual Islay brine, peat and smoke. Very earthy. A few drops of water emphasises the iodine in the brine, and over several sniffs, I get just the barest floral hint.

The taste is light and ever so slightly spiced, full of honeyed sweetness that is soon overwhelmed by a relatively delicate (for an Islay malt) wave of peat, smoke and seaweed.

The finish is fairly long, and full of peat and smoke, and surprisingly velvety for such a simple Islay dram. The peat and smoke eventually ease (but never disappear), allowing the gentler notes of honey and sea salt to emerge in the background.

This is a fairly straightforward malt then, and very competitively priced. Not brilliant good, but a fantastic every day Islay dram. In terms of value for money, it's not quite there with the Highland Park 12 and the Talisker 10, but it would be not far down that list.

Is it a cold winter night? Maybe you are reluctant to break out your best? Do you like Islay peat monsters? This dram is going to be hard to beat under those conditions.

Really? All I got was a mouthful of dirt. It was NOTHING like Talisker, Highland Park, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, or any other whisky I've ever tasted. It was just peat, peat, and more peat. No spice. No sweetness. No iodine. No sea salt. Just peaty dirt. Perhaps my bottle was from an "off" batch. Who knows...

@jwise - that does sound different to my experience! This was a simple dram with the basic Islay flavours, and not much else when I had it. I just went and poured myself a sip just to be sure, and I might have slightly over-scored it (it's more like an 81 or so), but everything else was pretty much right on!


Surprise yourself, just as I did, by a whisky which does not mention its age. Forget your prejudice. Enjoy the soft, smokey taste which lasts surprisingly long. Experience the desire to smell it, again and again, close your eyes, just taste and enjoy!


At first glance, the Bowmore doesn't seem to impress. The price, certainly, seems to discourage the unwary, with visions of a twist off cap, plastic bottle, and a taste that is less than stellar, to say the least.

However, those that purchase this excellent whisky will appreciate the value to be had. An Islay Single Malt, there is smoke, peat, and earthy hints in the nose, with good legs, and a light golden color. The whisky rolls over the tongue, leaving moss, more smoke and peat, and a more than a hint of sea salt in it's wake. The finish lingers, just a bit, almost as if to remind you of the experience. I don't think it's quite the quintessential Islay that Laphroaig is, but it's a great whisky in it's own right.

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