This Bowmore was bottled by Hunter Hamilton (one of the 5000 Douglas Laing spin-offs) under the Sovereign label for K&L in California in 2011. I purchased it in 2012, and opened it late last year for a Bowmore tasting with friends, where it was very well received. As I’ve noted before, I have my issues, to put it mildly, with much of K&L’s marketing, but I’ve generally liked their selections a lot and this is no different.
Bowmore 11, 2000 (57.5%; Hunter Hamilton for K&L; from my own bottle)
Nose: Raisins and apricot jam at first. Then a meaty/savoury quality mixed in with something inky–almost gamy. Gets fruitier as it sits with some honeyed citrus poking its way out through the darker notes. Not a whole lot of smoke but it’s there underneath, tying everything together. The fruit and the Bowmore flowers get stronger with time. Really quite nice. With water there’s some cream or maybe it’s shortbread.
Palate: Starts off with some bitter peat and then there’s the fruit (dried tangerine peel, apricot jam). Some bitter caramel and maple syrup too and then the Bowmore flowers (just a touch). On the second sip there’s more salt as well and with more time there’s more smoke (not phenolic though) and more citrus. Very drinkable at full strength, but let’s add a spot of water. Not a whole lot of change with a drop or two of water–maybe a touch more citrus?
Finish: Long’ish. No new development as such, neat or without water.
Comments: As I said, I quite like this. Odd, how little feedback there seems to be available on this despite it having sold out a long time ago (I think). Only two reviews on Whiskybase, and one of those is not very positive. Well, if you have this and like it you have my support in saying so loudly. Still, it’s not terribly complex and the finish is a bit disappointing. Water not necessary.
Rating: 86 points.