Whisky Review: Bowmore 12 (Islay)

Another nice malt, from one of my preferred distilleries. A cut below the Lagavulin but at a third of the price it’s great value. The colour is a pleasing orange; the nose is pleasant and not overpowering with a slightly sharp background and a (not unpleasant) hint of chlorine (or maybe that’s just because my glass wasn’t totally dry when I poured it?) without much of the characteristic Islay smoke. There are some faintly sweet notes. Maybe a hint of paper? The taste is fiery and a little bitter, without many specific flavours that I can pick out. Maybe slightly sweet although the sweetness is quickly overpowered. The finish is a quite bitter. Not one of the greats, but a good malt nonetheless.

After a while more tastes become evident: grass? Miso? A hint of smoke starts to come through.

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2 Responses

  1. I beg to differ; Bow 12 is not a cut below Lagavulin, who often mature whisky in shagged out 4th fill casks. HELLO! 4th fill casks?!?!?
    Bow was, if i am correct, the 1st distillery on islay and they still malt their own barley right? Bowmore is more balanced and changes as it matures, Lagavulin is a great scotch but its just peaty and stays peaty as it matures, which is kinda dull after a while.

    • Yep Bowmore is the oldest around as far as I’m aware (and so they say on the bottle). They also malt their own barley whilst Lagavulin gets theirs from Port Ellen (the distillery is shut down but the maltings are still going?).

      I’ve actually only tried to Bowmore 12 and the Laga 12, 16 and Distiller’s Edition (2004, I think). I though all of the Lagavulins were great and the 16 is probably my favourite (the damn stuff costs a fortune over here though) scotch (looking forward to trying to Laphroaig 18 though). To me, all of the Lagavulins are tastier than the Bowmore, but I hear the old Lagas are a bit grim. Maybe I need to try some other Bowmores?

      4th fill? That just means it’s got more flavour!

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