Let’s keep the Bowmore festival going a little bit longer, but let’s switch now to bourbon cask Bowmore, beginning with the official Tempest. (For a far more impressive series of Bowmore reviews see Whisky News’ recently concluded tastings that began with two editions of the legendary Black Bowmore.)
The Tempest is cask strength 10 year old Bowmore from first-fill bourbon casks, and is released in batches. The first batch–which I am reviewing tonight–was released in Europe. The US got some of the second batch but then Bowmore ran into labeling trouble on account, I believe, of there being some wine from California named the Tempest (apparently, there are a lot of Americans who go into booze shops looking to buy cheap wine and accidentally leave with expensive whisky). Consequently, Bowmore Tempest is now sold in the US as the Bowmore Dorus Mor, which as you know is Scots Gaelic for “the sound your stomach makes when you catch a whiff at noon, on a day when you accidentally skipped breakfast, of the banh mi someone’s unwrapping 10 feet away “. What that has to do with whisky I don’t know–whatever will these wacky marketers come up with next?!
Bowmore Tempest, Batch 1 (55.3%, first-fill bourbon casks; from a reference sample saved from my own bottle)
Nose: A little closed at first but after a minute or two of airing in the glass it begins to open up. A very coastal/briny note (salty but also some rotting kelp) with floral accents. With more time there’s vanilla cream and then some minerally peat with slight notes of diesel. Just a hint of over-ripe fruit (peach, melon). Water makes the creamy/buttery note expand and also brings in some lemon: oh my, this is like freshly made shortbread with a touch of lemoncurd. A couple of minutes later the minerally peat is back again.
Palate: Very sweet at first, then some smoke. On the swallow here come the fruit (mostly peach, a little bit of lime) and flowers. Just a little soapy/vaseliney (very little). With water the characteristic lavender note separates from the rest of the flowers.
Finish: Starts out sweet but then there’s some acrid smoke that hangs around. After a while there’s a faint floral note too.
Comments: This is really quite nice. As I noted in a comment in one of the other Bowmore reviews the distillery seems to have gone for a “rounder” profile in this batch of Tempest, or maybe that’s just a consequence of vatting a large number of casks together. The indie single bourbon casks I’ve had have generally had a sharper, more minerally profile. The smoke is very gentle here. I have about four ounces of this left and a bottle of Batch 2 waiting–I look forward to comparing the two soon.
Rating: 86 points.