The last one of the three samples I got from Wemyss, and if the online availability is anything to go by, this is a cracker. It was released last week on Thursday or Friday and has already sold out. And that at € 150 a pop.
Bowmore has been in a love/hate relationship with me for a long time. When I started with whisky I was never a fan, except for the occasional bottle. In general I didn’t think much of it for quite a while. When I started with whisky a decade ago, most ‘aged’ Bowmores were still from the 1980s and as you might know, that wasn’t a very popular period for Bowmore to be from.
In those days, even though the tour guides will tell you nothing has changed in 200 years, the whisky was hideously perfumy. Laundry detergent and softener, mountains of lavender and violets. Just no. It’s not for nothing they’re described as having too much FWP (French Whore Perfume).
Recently, more or less anything that was distilled after 1990 and hasn’t been finished in some weird wine cask, has been awesome. From their more or less 6 year old 100 Degrees Proof, to Tempest, Devil’s Cask and Laimrig. It’s all A-level whisky. Let’s see where this one sits!
The name ‘The Rock Pool’ does not need explanation with this baby going the way of sand, salt and minerals. Very much rocks on the beach. There’s quite some peat but it is light in kind. Not all encompassing. Heather is there too and a slight hint of lavender, but nowhere near 1980s levels. Apart from the ‘crisp winter morning’ scents of the rock pool, there’s also something warming with a tiny hint of bourbon cask maturation quintessentials. Some caramel, vanilla and pastry.
It’s pretty sharp on the palate, but that’s no surprise at 57.2% ABV. The minerals are here too, backed up by the Bowmore style of peat. Heather, salt, marram grass/sand reed, but the minerals lead the charge. The pastry and caramel are a bit stronger here, but the vanilla isn’t. Cookie dough, with a touch of sugar.
The finish is slightly more wood driven with the puff pastry and cookie dough being more prominent. It’s rather long with hints of salt, heather and minerals sticking around, as does the peat.
This is a gorgeous whisky. When I found out about the price tag I was bummed out since I reckoned that would be too much for any 19 year old Bowmore, but today I regretted to find out it has all gone. Maybe just as well, since my wishlist is already nigh endless.
The minerals and heather flavors are no stranger too Bowmore, but it generally is much more wood driven and I like the fact that this one isn’t. I normally don’t mind for, say, The Tempest since that screams ‘American Oak’, this one is much more timid in that area.
The flavors are just gorgeous, wintry and crisp. I think they suit the distillery very well and I hope to find many more of this kind of Bowmore. This stuff is just awesome.
Bowmore 1995-2014, 19yo, 57.2%, ‘The Rock Pool’, Wemyss.
Thanks a million to Wemyss Malts for sending this!