Bowmore 10, Devil’s Casks, 2nd Ed.

I made my first post on this blog on March 24, 2013—I didn’t actually tell anybody about it till a while later but March 24 is the anniversary of the blog. My very first review on that day was a review of a Bowmore—the Legend—and I’ve marked every anniversary since with another Bowmore review. On the first anniversary I reviewed the first release of the Devil’s Casks, and now on the fifth anniversary I have a review of the second release (I don’t remember in what year this was actually released). I don’t know that I planned to be blogging for five years when I started out—my life is littered with things I started with great enthusiasm and then abandoned—but here I still am. Truth be told, adding food to the mix probably saved me from getting burned out. I’m not quite as engaged with the whisky world as I was when I started the blog and I’m not sure that whisky blogs (or food blogs, for that matter) are even particularly relevant anymore. I certainly read fewer blogs than I once did and can’t imagine why anybody reads mine. 

I still think of the blog primarily as an archive of my own tasting notes. I know it drives some of my readers crazy that I don’t review more standard or current releases—some of you even email me to urge me to do so. Alas, I’m no more inclined in that direction than I was in the first five years; I’m happy to explain why if anybody is so bored as to want to know. Or you may just prefer to read this untimely review.

Bowmore 10, Devil’s Casks, 2nd Ed. (56.3%; from a bottle split)

Nose: Pencil lead, concentrated beef stock, raisins. Then some dried tangerine peel, some cherry and just a hint of savoury gunpowder. Where’s the smoke? With more time there’s a sour note that I’m not enjoying so much. Water pushes the sulphur back and makes it mellower and nuttier.

Palate: Okay, here’s the smoke: it’s earthy and ashy and sharp and has the gunpowder mixed up with it. The other stuff from the nose is here too. The sharpness makes the texture seem thin despite the strength. Gets saltier and fruitier as it goes and also—alas—sharper. Some cracked black pepper too with time. Let’s see what water does for it. Ah yes, not as sharp here either and there’s some dark chocolate and some tobacco now.

Finish: Long. The Bowmore florals pop out here and the smoke lingers as well (there’s some tobacco mixed in with it too). Spicier with water and the smoke is a little tarrier.

Comments: Not very far away from the first edition; like it, it’s marred by just a bit too much sulphury sharpness—I guess they call it the Devil’s Casks for a reason. Lots of things to like in the nose and palate but it doesn’t quite have the depth or complexity or development I’ve loved in other heavily sherried Bowmores of this rough age. Better with water.

Rating: 86 points.

3 thoughts on “Bowmore 10, Devil’s Casks, 2nd Ed.

  1. Ha; you could’ve shortened your review by a significant number of words if you just started with “Pencil lead” and immediately ended with “too much sulphury sharpness”. It was when I saw the mad scramble for the 1st and notably 2nd releases of this, and the corresponding mental secondary market that I knew Dutch tulip fever had firmly gripped the thing I call my scotch hobby. Not to mention that they were a shadow of the first batches of Laimrig.


  2. Happy fifth birthday – many a whisky blog doesn’t make it that far (mine, for example).

    I’ve never been particularly enthralled by Bowmore in sherry, stemming perhaps from repeat tastings of 15yo Darkest and an unavoidable chorizo note (with extra garlic). The Tempests I found to be very good, however. What put me off about these releases, admittedly to a lesser degree than the absurd pricing, was their release in tandem with Jim Beam Devil’s Cut. Same owner, same satanic story, same nonsense.


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