Bowmore 12 and I were not on speaking terms about 5 years ago. A friend brought a bottle to a Scotch and cigar party, and I, with my Laphroaig QC in hand, was not going to be won over by this new peaty intruder. Upon tasting, I recoiled and made a sour face. We didn’t see each other again, Bowmore 12 and I, until just this Christmas, when my darling brother bought me a bottle. I was to meet the beast again, but this time with a more open mind.
Nose: Peat, smoke and citrus. The smoke is very hickory-like.
Palate: Soft, slightly underwhelming. Peat and smoke, with pleasantly sweet-and-sour lemon notes. Like a smoky MinuteMaid lemonade, sort of. A little Caol-Ila-ish at times.
Finish: Rather short, lingering sour peat. Sour, of course, meant still in that good way. Like a lemon.
There isn’t much to say about this whisky. It’s smooth, smoky and sweet. A little too mild at times to make it perfectly balanced over its few notes, but it’s not nearly as bad as I first thought. It’s a daily drammer when you want that Islay profile with a bit of sweetness, but don’t want to think too much about it. If the tempest is any indication, this would probably be much better in a 12yo cask-strength, truth be told. All in all, I’m happy that I was forced to come back to this again. We’re now casual friends, Bowmore 12 and I.