The previous review of an SMWS whisky was that weird Glen Moray from a gin cask. I didn’t really care for that one. Let’s try and see if this Bowmore from a regular bourbon cask suits me better.
As with Glen Moray, the SMWS normally bottles stunning Bowmore. This made me quite interested in a sample of this one, and as with yesterday’s Caol Ila, I brought it on the train with me as a warm up for the Winter Whisky Tasting at De Whiskykoning.
I have to admit that, with the exception of bottlings from the 1980s, Bowmore is one of my favorite distilleries. They have done some wine cask experiments that I don’t really care for, but generally they’re an all-round Islay distillery. Regular bourbon and sherry matured whiskies work well, and they’re also able to do those drams in overdrive like the Devil’s Casks.
Luckily, their dirtier side is coming back with some bottlings from the nineties. Let’s see where this one sits.
The smoke is very gentle, but clearly present. After that there’s a lot of ripe fruit and a nice, not-too-heavy sweetness. Apple, grapes, passionfruit. A light acidity that makes this a rather crisp dram. Some icing sugar as well. Wow!
The palate is quite sharp, which isn’t quite surprising at almost 56% ABV. Lots of flavors of candied fruit, with dried passionfruit and the acidity that goes with that. Mango, pineapple. A light smokiness again.
On the finish the light smoke, a hint of alcohol and fruit go a little bit more towards the perfumy bottlings of the 1980s, but nowhere near as full frontal as those (thank god). Some hints of oak too.
Well, this one just ticks all the boxes, doesn’t it? There’s fruit, smoke, oak. It’s complex and not too strong on the palate. A really good whisky if you ask me. Especially the slightly acidic fruitiness is what Bowmore does very well, and this bottling fits that bill. I don’t often get passionfruit notes from a whisky, but when I do I am a happy camper (generally).
This one has it all, in my book. If it had a bit of that farmy notes that Bowmores sometimes have, this would have gone overboard. But still, if you see a bottle of this somewhere, I highly recommend it!
Bowmore 16, 1998-2015, Refill Ex-bourbon hogshead, 55.9%, SMWS 3.241 ‘Seaside Smoke’