Bowmore 15yo, 2000-2015, Old Particular
ABV: 48.4%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: Sherry Butt (# DL10794, 468 btl.)

Colour: Bright gold.
Nose: Notes of crisp peat at first, combined with a pleasant sweetness of cereals, malted barley and burnt caramel. Zesty oranges with a hint of smoke, nutmeg and anise in the back.
Palate: The delicate sweetness continues on the palate with caramel, vanilla and rich dried fruits - mainly oranges. This is accompanied with a nicely warming spiciness of oak, white pepper, and cardamom. Coastal flavours nicely linger with subtle sea salt, peat smoke and tender phenols towards the finish.
Finish: The finish shows good length with a nice mix of peat, pepper, black currant and burnt caramel. Slightly bitter orange peel and dry oak on the tail.
With water: There's less peaty flavours on the nose when a few drops of water are added. The combined sweetness of vanilla, barley and fruit is tamed, too while more smoke is coming through. Lots of caramel notes on the palate with vanilla and warming oak spice. Significantly drier with a tamed sweetness. The finish is medium long and very dry with oak, nutmeg, allspice, and pepper. Subtle peat smoke and slightly bitter orange peel on the tail.
Comments: A distinct, delicate and surprisingly sweet Bowmore. A classical and pleasantly restrained Islay character with a perfect balance of fruit and spice. Rich, multi-layered and well crafted. Delightfully elegant! Water, however, changes the rules, bringing dry oak forward.

I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!

Bowmore 16yo, 1999-2016, Feis Ile 2016 Limited Edition, Old Particular
ABV: 48.3%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: Refill Hogshead (# DL11107, 246 btl.)

Colour: Gold.
Nose: A slightly maritime touch of sea salt and seaweed mingling with sweet smoke on the nose. Orchard fruits, apricots, pears and vanilla custard gently wrapped in peat smoke with additional hints of cocoa and phenols in the back.
Palate: Lots of barley sweetness, slightly bitter orange peel and hints of leather, complemented by creamy apricot jam, oak spice, and pepper. Chocolate flavours, mixed with sweet peat smoke and tender phenols towards the finish.
Finish: The finish is long and creamy with a lovely sweetness of malted barley and acacia honey. Slightly warming with oak spice, bitter chocolate, phenols and peat smoke on the tail.
With water: On the nose, the sweetness and smokiness are a bit tamed by adding a few drops of water, bringing lovely citric notes to the fore. More spice - oak and pepper on the palate, mingling with barley sugar and bitter orange peel towards the finish. The finish continues to stay long with sweet, malty, and creamy flavours, pleasantly wrapped in gentle peat smoke.
Comments: A lovely, surprisingly minerally Bowmore. Delicate with classical Islay character. Fruity, smoky, spicy and leathery notes with an assertive maritime influence. Rich, aromatic with a great combination of strength and sweetness. Well worth a try!

I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!

Bowmore Claret, 1999, Bordeaux Wine Casked
ABV: 56.0%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°°°°
Bottling: Distillery
Cask type: Bordeaux Red Wine Casks Finish (12,000 btl.)


Colour: Warm reddish amber.
Nose: Very aromatic on the nose with luscious red fruits, cherries and sweet grapes, perfectly wrapped in gentle peat smoke. Lots of freshness with lovely sweet notes of vanilla, gentle toffee and a hint of citric tang. Subtle damped wood and a whiff of mint in the back. A really gorgeous nose and very appealing!
Palate: Sweet and fruity start on the palate with grapes, cherries and oranges. This is immediately complemented by a massive load of warming spices - pepper, cinnamon, oak and cloves. Sweet and creamy again with delicate toffee, lovely mixed with a slightly herbal touch of tea and tender ashes. Gentle peat smoke and hints of salty sea tand nicely linger towards the finish. Deliciously savoury!
Finish: The finish is long, warm, and sweet with a perfect mixture of grapes, wine aroma, honey and raisins. Spicy notes of oak and cloves arrive, nicely linger with gentle peat smoke, a whiff of herbal tea notes and sea salt on the tail.
With water: There's almost no change on the nose with water. The fruitiness perfectly mingles with the Bowmore smokiness. The fruitiness, however, slightly decreases on the palate, while more bitter notes of orange peel and grape skins come to the fore. The spiciness is a bit tamed but perfectly balanced with peat smoke and tangy flavours. The finish is still long, warm with bitter orange peal and tender cloves on the tail.
Comments: This limited edition Bowmore Claret introduced a totally new and exciting Bowmore taste experience. To me, this experiment of fruity sweetness and creamy smokiness went extremely well. A wonderfully enjoyable dram with a superb balance between the finesse of French wine and the punchy power of Islay. A real charmer!


I thank Neil Martin from Rossmor Guesthouse in Grantown-on-Spey for the sample!

Bowmore Springtide, Limited Edition
ABV: 54.9%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°°°
Bottling: Distillery
Cask type: First- and Second-fill Spanish Oloroso Sherry Casks (4,000 btl.)


Colour: Dark amber.
Nose: Deep and rich. Sherry flavours nicely intermingle with plums, dried cherries, orange marmalade, sweet prunes, and liquorice. Briny notes are present with hints of tar and rubber, covered by subtle wood smoke. Sweet aromas of toffee, malted barley and dark chocolate emerge, lovely lingering with hints of eucalyptus and a whiff of florals in the back.
Palate: Deliciously sweet start on the palate with sherry, dates, prunes and raisins. This is complemented by an intense warming spiciness of oak, cinnamon and nutmeg. Wood smoke and tar-like flavours arrive, perfectly balanced with lovely herbal and medicinal notes, kind of cough syrup. Sweet and fruity again with luscious oranges, dark berries, liquorice and a briny edge with a whiff of ozone towards the finish. Lovely savoury!
Finish: The finish is very long, sweet with dried dark fruit, liquorice, and herbal cough syrup. Slightly drying, with some astringency, leading to a smoky and subtle salty end. Perfect!
With water: There's more yellow fruits coming through with a splash of water. Citrus and toffee nicely mingle with sherry and lovely wood smoke on the nose. Water significantly increases the sweetness on the palate with toffee and fruits, supported by prickling spiced oak on the tongue. The finish is very long, sweet and creamy with tender wood smoke on the tail.
Comments: A rich, fruity old-school Bowmore. Lovely thick sweetness and fruitiness are perfectly balanced with coastal and herbal notes, superbly coated with wood smoke. Strong, intense and overwelming. A multi-layered, fine and full-bodied character. Another excellent example of the perfect harmony of Bowmore with sherry.


I thank the Bowmore Distillery for the photograph!

Bowmore 26yo, 1989-2015, Mission Gold, Murray McDavid
ABV: 50.4%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°°°°
Bottling: Murray McDavid
Cask type: Bourbon Barrel, Finish in Château Latour Wine Cask (#3, 313 btl.)


Colour: Amber.
Nose: A pleasant aroma, beautifully sculpted. The peat and smoke from smouldering wood are even and form merely a backdrop. In the foreground there is a delicious sweetness of malt, caramel and burnt toffee, complemented by delicate notes of abundant red fruits, raisins, cassis jam and wine aromas. Deliciously evocative.
Palate: Sweet start on the palate with barley sugar, toffee and fruity aromas of cherries, cassis and subtle pink grapefruit. This is complemented by a controlled explosion of warm spice with cracked pepper, coriander, cinnamon and oak. Drier towards the finish with lingering oak, gentle bitter notes of grapes and subtle peat smoke that reaches all parts of the palate. Very nice!
Finish: A medium long and subtle warm finish with dark fruit jam, lingering spice and oak, drying out the sweetness of the peat malt and grape.
With water: Water tames the delicate fruity, sweet and peaty aromas on the nose with only a whiff of smoke coming through. The fruitiness comes to the fore on the palate mingling with oak and warm spice. The finish, however, is rather short and slightly sweet with fruit and malt.
Comments: Wow, one of the best wine finishes I've tasted so far. It works perfectly well here, bringing in sweetness and fruitiness but without masking the delicate peatiness and richness of the Islay style. A well balanced and delightful Bowmore. No water needed.


I thank the German importer Whiskymax for sample and photograph!

Bowmore 15yo, Laimrig, Batch 3 - 2012
ABV: 53.7%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Distillery
Cask type: Bourbon and Sherry Casks (18,000 btl.)

Colour: Mahogany.
Nose: Rich and intense with lots of sherry and smoke. Slightly meaty indeed. Deep lingering notes of stewed dark fruit, prunes, raisins, luscious orange and demerara sugar. Ash and iodine emerge with delicate tobacco leaves, complemented by a touch of burnt rubber, polished furniture and oiled leather. A superb and very complex nose.
Palate: Sweet but a bit harsh as well. Intense sherry flavours, raisins and stewed dark fruit, along with a pleasant herbal note, nutmeg and clove. Cold tea-like with tannic astringency, tobacco leaves and smoke, followed by lingering marzipan and walnuts. Strong and savoury.
Finish: Very intense, sweet and warm finish with layers of raisinated fruit, tobacco flavours, smoke, cinnamon and delicate coffee notes. Nicely long-lasting and extremely mouth-coating.
With water: There's almost no change on the nose while the spiciness becomes more prominent on the palate. Delicate sherry and fruity sweetness with a long and warming finish of pleasant fruit, marzipan and hot spice.
Comments: An awesome whisky. Full, rich, intense with a great balance. Sherry, voluptuous fruit and wood spices come through with smoke and peat embers, leading to an impressively long finish. A well tuned and much more challenging version of the delicate Bowmore Darkest. If you like sherried Bowmore, this is a must have!

Bowmore 10yo, The Devil's Casks - Small Batch Release, 2013
ABV: 56.9%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°°
Bottling: Distillery
Cask type: 1st Fill Sherry casks (6,000 btl.)

Colour: Deep amber.
Nose: Rich, big and intense. Smouldering peat and lots of smoke are present right from the beginning, intertwined with heavily sherried flavours. Dark fruit's coming through with cherries, raisins, and sticky plum jam. Molasses and dark bitter chocolate arrive, complemented by gentle salted seaweed, iodine and damp wood. The sherry is so thick you can cut it with a knife. Very powerful, with the alcohol being perfectly integrated. A gorgeous nose!
Palate: Sweet opening with Oloroso sherry, subtle malted barley and burnt wood, immediately followed by a short but vigorous attack of spice, cracked black pepper and chili. Slightly tannic and oaky, balanced by molasses, treacle, raisins and dark fruit. This is all complemented by sweet peat and gentle smoke, with the alcohol being completely mastered. Extremely delicate.
Finish: Sweet with a good length. Sherry and dried dark fruit, liquorice, burnt wood and smoky tannins with a slight astringency. Nicely mouth-coating.
With water: Not too much change on the nose, maybe a bit more malted barley's coming through. Intense sherry and fruity sweetness on the palate with a tamed spiciness, lingering cinnamon and prickling oak tannins on the tongue. Long and very sweet finish with sticky dark honey and gentle peat smoke.
Comments: A classic sherry matured whisky - intense, peated and sweet. Not as hot as the Devil's cask No. III on the palate. This one is more matured and elegant, but still very complex and powerful. A hot but not a brutal dram, with a gorgeous nose! It is a great whisky but the Devil III blew me away.

Bowmore, The Devil's Casks - Small Batch Release III, 2015
ABV: 56.7%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°°°°
Bottling: Distillery
Cask type: 1st Fill Oloroso + Pedro Ximenez sherry casks

Colour: Mahogany.
Nose: Bold on the nose. Lots of sherry, sweet with malted barley, prunes, and dried figs. Herbal candy flavours emerge with rum soaked dark cherries coated in bitter chocolate. Gentle peat and smoke, with savoury maritime edges. Very powerful, with the alcohol being optimally integrated.
Palate: A herbal and slightly bitter cough syrup-like start on the palate, immediately followed by an enormous amount of hot spices - cardamom, cracked black pepper and red chili - which makes it difficult to continue breathing! After this spicy shock, intense sweetness emerges with sherry, crisp malt, ripe fruit, dark chocolate and lingering vanilla. This is all complemented by gentle and delicate peat and smoke, fading with tobacco leaves and subtle cloves. The tongue is still burning!
Finish: Thick and long. Crisp malt and sherry sweetness followed by sligtly bitter herbs. Gets drier in the end with lingering walnuts and gentle peat smoke. Extremely mouth-coating!
With water: There's less smoke on the nose with increased sherry sweetness and alcohol coming through. Water doesn't tame the hot spices on the palate, and the finish still is long and delicate.
Comments: Oh my god - I survived! This is a brutal dram. Hot, hot, hot on the palate. Complex and versatile. If you brush your teeth carefully after having sipped a glass of this Devil at night, this is still present in your mouth in the morning. I don't have a comparison to the first two Devil Limited Releases, which were 10yo each, but this is a devilishly good dram with a gorgeous nose and an endless finish. Would I buy a bottle (around 240€)? No! Would I drink another dram? Definitely yes!

I thank Marcel Langnickel for sharing a sample with me and for the photograph!

Bowmore 12yo, 2003-2015, Travel to Mars - Special Edition
ABV: 49.6%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°°
Bottling: eSpirits Whisky for Liquid Treasures
Cask type: Bourbon barrel

Colour: Pale straw.
Nose: The nose starts off with discreet peat complemented by warm smoke. Behind that gentle vanilla is coming through followed by malted barley and a touch of fruity notes. Underneath gentle medicinal notes emerge with a whiff of saltiness and liquorice. A bit shy but very pleasant on the nose!
Palate: Again this touch of medicinal flavours is coming through with iodine, ember, peat smoke and a touch of smoked ham. Lovely fruity notes emerge with luscious apricots and cooked peaches, complemented by lingering vanilla and toffee, malted barley and sharp oak spice. Very intense and delicate.
Finish: A long, warm and sweet finish with sticky dark honey and lots of spice, cracked black pepper and oak, covered by gentle peat smoke.
With water: Increased freshness on the nose, sea air, peat smoke and malted barley, complemented by subtle vanilla and toffee. There's more yellow fruit on the palate with less intense spices resulting in a long and warm finish with vanilla, peat smoke and oak.
Comments: A beautiful Islay malt. A bit reserved on the nose and sharp on the palate, however, with a pleasant aromatic development, and a good combination of strength and sweetness. Fruity-malty-savoury-maritime balance, intense but elegant. A tasty Bowmore.

I thank for sample and photograph!