Distillery/Brand: Bowmore | Region: Islay | ABV: 57.1% | Colour: Copper
Nose: 23 | Taste: 23 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 90
The SMWS bottlings have held a certain level of mystique over me for some reason. The way they don’t put the name of the distillery on the bottle and ‘hide’ it behind numbers and fancy descriptions.
The minimalism of their packaging. The near brilliant consistency of their whiskies. Everything ticks the right boxes for me.
I remember my first SMWS. It was a seven year old Ardbeg and, my word, it was delicious. Since then I’ve been on a quest to get hold of as many as I can get my hands on.
Which is not always easy.
And this I found out the hard way during my trip to Islay last week for the Whisky Festival. Because this release was no where to be found. Of course, missing their open day didn’t help!
However, I did manage to snag a dram at the Ballygrant Inn.
The SMWS 3.243 is a 17 year old Bowmore matured in ex-Sherry butts served at a cask strength of 57.1%. My sample is from an open bottle.
Nose: Lots of toasted barley. Lots of it. Touch of peat. Hint of char. Like a toasted papadum. As the smoke clears the honey shines. A mild dark honey. Almost bitter savory. Jute bag. And a sprinkle of black salt. Complex nose this. Wonderfully layered.
Palate: Black pepper. That same dark honey. Banana. Rum toffee. Butterscotch. Berries. Hint of dark chocolate. Cinnamon. The spirit is quite full bodied and the oakiness settles in the open cracks of your mouth. Makes sense?
Finish: Long. Oak. Spices. Chocolate.
Overall Comments: A tasty whisky this. Quite chewy and nice. Another reason to drink SMWS.