This is a long post but it's to compare both batches. I had the opportunity last year to trade a bottle of Tempest batch VI for a V with @Nozinan through the kindest of whisky mules @Robert99. It was smartly suggested we trade a sample of each whisky along with it in order to taste the batch variances without opening our bottles. I am much overdue on my review of this but I don't think anyone was holding their breath for my opinion on this hot topic.
Bowmore Tempest V:
Nose: Bags of tropical fruits, sea spray, waxy lemons, the smoke is in the distance and it feels a bit closed at first. With time vanilla and oak become more prominent, along with a mineral and earthy peat also a sweet note like flower nectar.
Palate: Earthy, sweet, creamy and yet there's a good amount of lingering bitterness to keep it in check. Lemons and a kind of earthy spiciness (camphor, black cardamom) there is also an underlying soapy, floral, lavender tang that is slight but persistent even with water.
The strength is magnificent, it's easy to drink undiluted and powerfully conveys the flavours, the finish is long and all on sweet oak and gripping bitterness. 86/100 * I had some this weekend and bumped up my original assessment.
Bowmore Tempest VI:
Nose: Starts off on ripe pineapple, mango, sweet and musky melon, distant smoke and vinyl upholstery. It morphs into vanilla and damp oak and flint.
Palate: Earthy, malt syrup, bergamot, a bit of ashyness and coconut. Lemon pith, malty, orange flower water or petit-grain. Paraffin and with time a little antiseptic and oysters show up.
The finish is long and lingering, with water you get more oak, the bitter ashy side is reduced but still plenty of mineral and sea spray and lemon. 88/100
Impressions: While Stylistically both batches are very close, there are some slight differences, the nose on batch V really pushes the fruits forward and is such a beauty. Sadly I'm really sensitive to that soapy, bitter violet note on the palate. Batch VI feels well rounded if a bit oak forward. It's must try for those who haven't been moved much by the standard OB line-up of Bowmore.
The rant: Ah you can't get away from me complaining but I mean c'mon Suntory! The small batch experiments disappeared and all we are left with is this new NAS vault series shite. The first one landed on these shores recently at a whopping 199$, I know that never ending price argument but this release has no pretension to having any special or rare parcels of whisky, not that this would necessarily change much. When one could buy a 10 yr old cask strength, first fill bourbon cask whisky at 75$ less than a year prior, it's hard not to feel like they are taking the piss. We thought Devil's cask III at 100$+ was pushing it...we didn't know what was coming.
I think I've already said that I slightly preferred the V. I didn't get any soapiness or lavender. I may have to open a bottle to check ( ). Maybe there was residue in your glass from washing? probably not...
I also lament the reduced availability of quality age-stated malts from this distillery (and others).