I first came across Bowmore Tempest in December 2015, when batch 5 appeared in Ontario. I was overwhelmed by its flavour, aromas, and mouthfeel. Around that time it became clear the batch 6 was available in Quebec. I jumped at the chance to arrange a trade of one batch for the other, and we exchanged sample bottles as well. Thanks to @Cricklewood for this sample.
There is no information about the length of time the bottle was open before the sample was prepared and whether it was gassed. 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.
I am reviewing this and the batch 5 concurrently, and will provide a comparison at the end.
Neat – light syrup, peat, a little iodine. Slight citrus. With time a little floral note eases into the background. 22/25
With water – syrup recedes, nose becomes more muted. With time a hint of sweet grapefruit/pomelo appears, and the nose opens up again. (22/25)
Neat – Smooth arrival, sweet and sour, with peat and citrus zest in the development. 21/25
With water – First sip: BANG! Explosion of sour, citrus, bitter peat, grapefruit pith, some effervescence (what one of our members calls “Whisky pop rocks”). Subsequent sips don’t quite match up to the first. 22/25
Finish: sour, astringent, my tongue feels like it would if I licked an ashtray – with water the experience is very similar. 22/25
Balance: This whisky is not very complex, but what it has is well-balanced (bitter, sweet, sour, peat) and they work well together. 22/25
Score: Neat - 87 /100 With Water: 88/100
Quite a nice whisky, especially with a few drops of water. In scoring I gave the batch 5 a slight edge in comparing the 2, but I acknowledge this is the first time I’ve tried it. I think a “scientific” approach would be to do a H2H with 2 freshly opened bottles, then a few weeks later with the bottles at the same fill levels, which is not out of the question sometime in the future.
Mixing the 2 together (in equal parts) was an absolute success.
@Nozinan After reading your review I thought I would check out my 7 month old, half full bottle of VI. I was surprised to find that it had lost much of its punch and had become somewhat sweet and only a shadow of its freshly opened self 7 months ago. The peat has diminished quite noticeably. It's still very good, but not at all in the same way. I would have rated it 90+ a few months ago, now I would be closer to the mid 80s. I'll try it again in a day or two in case my taste buds are deceiving me. Thanks for that very useful head to head with batch V.
@Nozinan Thanks for suggesting the swap of batches. I have to say my bottle was open for almost 2 months before I decanted a largish (100ml) sample from which I bottled yours. I have now taken the habit of bottling a reference sample upon opening.
From tasting my way through this bottle I can say that on the nose I felt the more brash peat faded quickly. Same thing with the tropical notes on the palate, although that nice earthy bonfire and the citrus has more staying power.
I will do a report as well when I meet-up with Robert (probably later in June)