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The story goes that this is very young Bowmore. And it shows. Still, not a horrible choice for a budget peat fix . . .
Nose: Peat and peat. Peat the color of Yellow. That is to say, if the peat were in a color spectrum it would fall into the yellow area. Just a hint of earth and a whisper of the ocean behind the peat. A bit of hay and grass also behind the peat. Now, don’t hear me wrong: this is not peat overload like Supernova. Rather, this is a resounding one sold note (with two minor notes in the background) tone of peat. With time more malt come out. Now it is basically two notes: peat and malt. But with more time the peat recedes to the background and you are left with simply malt. Now some apple notes are coming out with a touch of honey and lemon grass. Nice, austere and simple while still evolving. My only complaint is that the peat starts out strong and then disappears.
Taste: Fruity on the tip: apple, pear, peach. Then some spice, fire, with sharp mustard and horseradish type flavors (but they only last for a moment). Now oak and a little smoke. Over all pleasant, sweet with a balance of bitterness.
Finish: Fire, smoke a nice dollop of peat fire coat the mouth. Not a huge explosion. More like lava or magma oozing down into the floor below your room. You are left with a nice struggle for air and the salty remnants of a peat fire.
Complexity, Balance: There is a complexity to this cheap no-name Islay single malt . . . considering. I will give it points for presenting several flavors and not being a one or two note chord. However, it is more like a fireworks display where once the rocket goes off it is finished.
Aesthetic experience: I dislike this bottle (which is why I put it into my decanter). It does remind me of the old Bowmore labeling. Hate the name, the label, the 40%, the use of E-150a, and the chill filtration. The only things I like about this bottle are that there is peat, it is a standard shape, and it is cheap.
Conclusion: For a while this was a standard in my open cabinet. However, of late I enjoy mixing my own peaty blend (Old Bastard Reserve). Next time I find it under $20 I’ll pick it up again.