About this blog:

This blog will feature tasting notes, reviews, distillery visits and whisky news with focus mainly on Scottish single malts. This will sometimes be accompanied by politically incorrect (whisky) opinions. You have now been warned! :-)
The views expressed here are entirely my own, unless otherwise stated.

Thursday, 14 February 2013


The last 2 reviews in this month long stretch of SMWS bottlings comes (again) from Islay.
I know, I know - lots more to whisky than the ones from Islay - but they are ever so popular, these peaty beasts from that lovely island.

Bowmore Distillery, Islay - August 2009 © The Malt Desk
Bowmore managed to rid itself of most of the lavender/soapy/perfumy notes it carried in the the 80's and is now back to a more laid back floral style very much in touch with even older expression, IMO.

This change happened, as far as I have experienced, back in 1992-93. From those years on I've noticed a significant drop in unpleasant notes many expressions from the 80's carried - also know as FWP.

So, what was the reason for this? well, much speculation have been done on this and several theories have been aired on it... here's a couple:

During those couple of years the Bowmore wash back was changed back to wooden vessels from stainless steel used for a good 10 years before that. Did they clean the washbacks with a perfumy detergent? or did they run their fermentation so long that these notes appeared?

Another theory aired was that the stills were run 24/7 at the time and the copper never had time to cool down and settle and this prolonged heating/expansion of the copper in the still produced this lavender/soapy/perfumy note.... what was really the reason for this? - I guess we'll never know...

Let's try this SMWS expression from the late 90's

Bowmore 1997 3.200 (25.09.1997/xx.xx.2012) 15yo 'A Bothy with an oil painting' 57,6%, Refill ex-sherry butt, 626 bottles, The Scotch malt Whisky Society

Colour is full straw

Creamy caramel, light and flowery peat, sweet and hint of oriental cooking like hot soy sauce in a wok pan.

Sweet and a bit drying note, then pickled fruits, peat, nutty bitterness, spices, salt, hint of feta cheese(??)

A bottling very much in touch with the 'new' Bowmore image and style. A good dram!


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