Distillery/Brand: Bowmore | Region: Islay | ABV: 55.7% | Colour: Light Gold
Nose: 22 | Taste: 23 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 89
To be honest I’m not a massive fan of Bowmore. I really like their Tempest series but other than that there’s not a whole lot that really makes my heart pump. Even as a distillery it doesn’t have much allure for me.
I have friends who differ, of course. By a lot. And that’s fine. Just doesn’t cut it for me for some reason.
So when I walked into the distillery on it’s Open Day during the Islay Festival I was just in the mood to nose around and see what was happening.
First up there was a hundred person line waiting to get into the visitor shop for the festival bottling. Bowmore released three this year. A NAS matured in Virgin Oak, a 12 year old First-Fill Sherry and a 26 year Sherry Matured.
I couldn’t be bothered to stand in line so wandered around looking for free drams.
Came around the back to a man with four bottles of Bowmore atop a folding table selling a dram for five pounds each. After giving him a dirty look we decided to head out some where given we couldn’t even secure a tour or a tasting.
The same evening as we sat down for dinner at the Harbour Inn, across the road from Bowmore, they had on their menu the Virgin Oak. Having missed it at Bowmore I decided to give it a try.
My sample is from an open bottle and served at a cask strength of 55.7%
Nose: Cold cuts. Charcuterie. It’s quite sweet. Vanilla. Coconut. Waffles. Milk chocolate. Hint of citrus. Almonds. Mild eucalyptus. Walnuts. Quite a crisp and arresting nose. Very clean.
Palate: Quite robust. Creamy mouthfeel.Fair bit of spices. Oak. Leather. Tannins. Red apples. Clove. Cinnamon. Brown toast. A touch rough in places but in a way that gave it character. Quite chewy.
Finish: Oil. Clove. Red berries.
Overall Comments: This is quite a beautiful little dram. The most affordable of the three at just 55GBP. I tasted the 12 year First-Fill Sherry and thought the Virgin Oak was a touch better. The only disappointment was the boring arrangements at the distillery on the day.