Bowmore is one of the distilleries that has, for quite a bit longer than many other distilleries, had an NAS release holding down the bottom end of their core lineup. Before this was filled by Legend, but five or six years ago this was reformulated with the trendier Small Batch label. The new version was put together entirely from bourbon casks, without any sherry to temper the spirit.
This whisky is bottled at 40% with coloring and chill filtration.
Bowmore Small Batch
Nose: light but balanced - malt, herbal, smoke, dry Bowmore peat, berries, apple, floral vanilla. After adding a few drops of water the peat becomes drier and is joined by dusty oak, the sweetness mostly retreats except for a bit of vanilla, and the fruit/floral notes mostly disappear.
Taste: thin throughout - light malt sweetness, mint, vanilla, and vague smoke, oak in the background until the finish, with a little bit of plastic at the end. After dilution the sweetness is amplified up front, but the peat becomes stronger and dries out the finish.
Finish: vegetal peat, clean malt, light oak, background plastic
I will give Bowmore this - they've managed to make a completely inoffensive peated single malt. Unless you are opposed to peat in general, there is little to be bothered by here. Also, for an NAS malt, there are almost no rough edges. It can't hold a candle to their age dated single malts, let alone a bruiser like Tempest, but that's not its goal.
Where it really shines is in cocktails. I first had this drink at Dutch Kills in NYC and it's been one of my favorite Negroni variations ever since.
1.25 oz Bowmore single malt
1 oz Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth
1 dash chocolate bitters
Combine all ingredients, stir with ice for fifteen seconds, then strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with an orange twist.
The nose dominated by the malt and peat of the whisky, with bitter notes from the Campari and vermouth in the background. The sip begins with moderate sweetness with hints of peat in the background, spice notes from the Campari and vermouth dominate the middle, with a fade out through oak and stronger peat, with grape from the vermouth in the background throughout. The finish is balanced between bitterness and peat, with the chocolate bitters finally showing up giving it a lingering burnt chocolate/coffee flavor.
Wonjo Agujjim (Seoul, March 2023)
5 hours ago
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