Bowmore 12 years

"This little bottle was likely to have come from the time of bad soapy Bowmores"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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The 12 year expression from the Bowmore Distillery is described as the heart of the Bowmore range with not too much cask influence to subside the character of the spirit. The Bowmore Distillery has had some questionable reputation in the nineties and early zeroes, due to the lavender-ish notes in some of their bottlings (for more info see for instance the here). On the other side, they have had their fantastic expressions that were unfortunately nowhere near the reasonable budget of an average whisky enthusiast. Recent (mostly independent) younger expressions received pretty excellent reviews. Therefore, I do not really know what to expect. Just for comparison, I tasted this about ten years ago (as one of my first whiskies), and in my recollection the sensation of tasting liquified wood for the first time is still reminiscent.

Nose

I am welcomed by a whiff of bourbon-y oak. The sherry influences are not far away, but the ex-bourbon casks takes the lead on the nose. Buttery, sweetish, lots of vanilla and honey. An undertone of bitter oak remains. The smoke is subdued with hints of coal dust and cigarettes.

Taste

Starts sweet with brown sugar and honey. Then the harshness comes in. Some peat, cardboard, stringent sherry notes, and some fruitiness comes through. But the oak influence takes over quickly and pushes the palate towards the bourbon-y side. I probably should not have read of the soap that Bowmore was into in the previous decades, because I definitely taste some awkward flowery, soapiness.

Overall

I am not that enthusiastic about this one, and I can see why one of my first impressions of whisky was that of drinking liquified wood. The characteristics of the spirit are overwhelmed by the cask influence, which is too bad as Bowmore can be glorious. Maybe this version was still from the not so glorious period (you know the one with the FWP).

What others say

Whiskybase: 80.66 (615 votes) * @TheRumhowlerBlog: 84/100 * @BestShotWhiskyReviews: 87/100 * @WineMag: 90/100 * @AllThingsWhisky: 84.5/100 * Serge Valentin @whiskyfun: 84/100
Read for yourself

A samples of this was purchased from !

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
55%
Sweet <-> Spicy
60%
Nose 68%
Taste 63%
Balance 62%
Depth 64%
Finish 64%
Score