Despite the fact that I have tried the Bowmore 12 at a couple of Scotch tastings, my notes have been a bit all over the place. One time, I found it to have a thick mouthfeel, and then on another date I thought it was watery. However, my overall grading was fairly consistent throughout. Perhaps I was just evolving and growing and gaining understanding, which in turn shifted my view.
The only rational solution to get a final answer was to buy a bottle! It is a reasonably priced Islay at around $35-$45 so there was little to lose. It is Bowmore’s entry-level offering with an age statement, and it has a golden hue. Although there are many offerings from Bowmore, I have only had the 12, the 15 and the 18. While they each have their differences, there is no doubt that they share the same DNA.
I am taking these latest notes as I sit peacefully on a Sunday evening in the spring, and will compare & contrast them with notes from the other experiences I have had in my travels through time.
Nose: Soft smokiness with light maritime notes. Something floral (lavender) and certainly fruity like lemons…except more like a lemon cleaner. (Pledge?)
Palate: My final answer on the body is going to be a bit watery. There is a grassy peat here, and a little bit of sweetness. I like that some of the coastal elements poke their head up through the smoke just enough to make sure you never doubt this is an Islay.
Finish: Salt and a little more smoke with some charred wood. A fairly short finish.
This is not a dram that I would add water to…just becomes too washed out. Normally adding water unveils some additional characteristics, but with the Bowmore 12, it is not worth the slight increase in the lemon and floral notes. It is delicate as is, and not overly complex, but certainly well rounded. This is a much more restrained peat smoke than the heavy hitters like Ardbeg & Laphroaig. It is toned down and sort of walks in a straight line, whereas many of the other Islays kind of color outside the lines and are a bit more exciting. Certainly a good introduction to Islays to those unfamiliar with the region since it is not a total over the top peat bomb. This is quite inexpensive in relation to most Single Malts, and while that is nice, I would still rather spend a bit more on an Ardbeg or Laphroaig when I need my Islay fix.
|Tasting Notes from 2010, 2011 and present|