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I approached this one with slightly less excitement than I usually do with an SMWS bottling – I haven't been overwhelmed by the Bowmore whisky I've tried in the past. When it comes to Islay I love Ardbeg and Laphroaigof course, and I adore Caol Ila, but Bowmore has yet to grab me.
To this whisky's credit I was pleasantly surprised – its not the best SMWS I've tasted – but its better than the Bowmore I've tasted. Maybe I should investigate further.
The nose is the first surprising thing – the usual suspects – light peat, smoke and some fruit - but isn't that some pronounced peach? No mistaking it this whisky is peachy. The addition of a little water brings out the fruitiness with the addition of a little citrus zest. Fresher than I expected for a 20 year old.
The mouth-feel is medium to full bodied and actually seems to thicken with a little water – becoming quite oily. The early palate is standard Bowmore fair, but half way through things get really fruity and quite woody before subsiding to nicely bitter coal tar.
The finish is quite long and smoky.
Overall I like this, it has a few surprises and really evolves with time in the glass and the addition of a little water. In the end the mouth feel reminds me of a lovely rich, almond oily, Gordon and Macphail Caol Ila I've been enjoying recently.
Still not my favourite SMWS but definitely my favourite Bowmore to date. Just peachy!