Bowmore 18, Deep & Complex

A Bowmore to close the month. This is a Bowmore 18 but it is not the 18 yo that is part of the core range. No, this is a member of Bowmore’s travel retail collection or at least it originally was. I think all of these whiskies may now be available from regular stores as well in the UK and EU. The 18 yo, at any rate, is certainly listed at a few places in the UK and I got my bottle from a store in the EU. I’ve previously reviewed the two others from that collection that had similar epithets attached to their name: the Bowmore 10, Dark & Intense and the Bowmore 15, Golden & Elegant. I liked the 15 yo quite a bit and the 10 yo rather less (too much sulphur, even for me). Like that 10 yo—but not the 15 yo—this 18 yo is also from sherry casks, being a mix of spirit matured in oloroso and PX casks. What the exact mix is, I don’t know. It’s been a long time now since I last had the standard 18 yo but I rather liked it when I did. If this is as good as that I will be happy enough. Let’s see.

Bowmore 18, Deep & Complex (43%; from my own bottle)

Nose: Sweet pipe tobacco, some dry smoke, the classic Bowmore florals and some dried orange peel mixed with a bit of passionfruit. As it sits the smoke gets ashier and the whole gets sweeter (raisins, brandied figs). A few drops of water and the fruit expands dramatically: more of the brandied figs and orange peel (marmalade really) than the passionfruit.

Palate: Comes in smokier than on the nose—still a mix of the sweet tobacco and dry and ashy smoke. The texture feels just a bit too thin at first but it seems to gain body as I swallow. The smoke gets ashier as well. More fruit on the second sip along with some pencil lead. No real change to note with time; let’s add a bit of water. Sweeter here too with water but the passionfruit expands here; the ashy smoke is still very present.

Finish: Long. The ashy smoke is the main story here at first but then the fruit and floral notes begin to follow through as well and it’s the fruit that makes the final impression—though the smoke continues to build as well. As on the palate with water.

Comments: Well, this is really lovely stuff: everything I like in Bowmore and not overpowered by the sherry. A few more ticks of abv would have helped with the depth and might have taken it to the next tier but that’s my only complaint. Hmmm I’m tempted to try to find a bottle of the regular 18 yo to compare before this one runs out.

Rating: 89 points.



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