I think almost everybody even just remotely interested in whisky has heard about Bowmore’s Devil’s Casks releases. Last year when they released the first batch there was a run on it and within a month, the price had increased by some 400% of the original retail price.
Most shops never got around to actually putting it on their shelves. I only got my bottle (still closed so no review yet) thanks to Billy, who managed to get one for me. Or at least remind me to put in a reminder email on The Whisky Exchange’s site.
Anyway, this year they released batch 2, and the hype was no less great. It sold out in minutes and the only guys getting one after the first day got it from obscure retailers without a web shop. Now only to find one of those!
I got my sample from Ben Cops in a sample swap we did recently. We do that. We send each other samples of stuff. It’s fun. Apart from the fact that I forgot to put some in that I promised him.
A ten year old from Bowmore is usually pretty great, and one matured in first fill sherry is bound to turn heads. I was slightly skeptical at first since first fill sherry can easily overpower gentler spirits.
It’s salty. That’s what I notice first. Then there’s a light peatiness immediately followed by a massive blast of sherry. Good sherry, though. There’s some tar, but also red fruits, strawberries. Quite some wood, more than I expected with mint to an almost toothpaste level. The peat does become slightly more prominent after a few minutes.
The palate is fierce with lots of oak, peat and sherry. It takes a minute to settle and release more flavors. Heather, gentle herbs but also barbecue coals and marinade.
The finish is long and peaty, again with heather and herbs. Almost floral, even and fairly dry. The sherry is here too, but in a more timid way than I expected, but still pretty fierce.
It’s a bit of a strange one, this. It’s a remarkably sherried whisky, but because the sherry hits so incredibly hard on the nose it doesn’t really stand out on the palate and finish anymore. That doesn’t mean it’s gone though.
Albeit a bit of a strange whisky, it’s bloody delicious. As in, I want a bottle or two. I was afraid that it would just be strong, peaty sherry but there’s much more going on that I love. The balance is quite alright, and it’s much more complex and layered than I’d regularly expect from 10 year old first fill sherry whiskies.
Great stuff by Bowmore. It makes me pay attention to batch three next year, and hope batch one tastes as good as this one! It also helps that I kind of love Bowmore, nowadays. Their Tempest, Laimrig, Darkest and many other releases are just great, and great value for money.
Bowmore Devil’s Casks II, 10yo, 56.3%. It used to go for some € 80, but I expect you to pay much more if you can find it.