After reading the outline of how this one works - with the high-wood contact small cask conditioning - I was expecting a bit of a sherried belter, however it turned out to be quite a delicious and structured dram that was all about the pleasure and not in this slightest about punishment.
My initial sniff had to be toned down considerably, with the 50.6% ABV making itself quite known. Once you'd gotten past that, a pleasant mix of spices & cinnamon, pears, menthol, white pepper and a hint of laundry powder made for a nice, light, enjoyable and slightly sweet bouquet.
The fairly viscous body tasted principally of rhubarb & custard, and brought in barley sugar, preserved peaches, and a little sandalwood. Well, the taste of the smell of sandalwood, anyway. I don't imagine it tastes that nice.
As I paced about the room frantically searching for adjectives (as I do when trying to describe whisky - otherwise all of my reviews would just say "Mmmmmmmm"), this Octave played delicately on the tongue, and left the memory of light honey, distant smoke, and creme brulee.
I'd picked this dram because I was expecting a certain "standard Bowmore-ness", and found it quite surprising, but in a very welcome way.
I'm a big fan of Duncan Taylor. This bottling is, like you say, a little off the beaten track for Bowmore. A nice surprise.
It occurs to me that the title of this review makes little or no sense - I guess it means I was expecting it to be more salty, iodiney, and all those things we love... but this was lovely also.