Bowmore 12 years old

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bowmore12.jpgIt should come as no surprise to even the most casual reader of this blog that we've got big love for Bowmore. Established in 1779 on Islay, it's one of the few remaining distilleries that still runs its own floor maltings and peats their malted barley using a kiln on site. This hands-on approach allows the malt to be peated exactly to their specifications and allows the distillery to have greater flexibility when making custom peat levels for special or one-off whiskies. A few years back I visited Bowmore and tried my hand at turning and raking the barley before I stepped into the kiln for an epic smoke bath. To this day I can still recall the signature smell of Bowmore's peat reek.

On these cool and dreary November evenings, I tend to look for smoky, warming whiskies with lots of character to lift me from my doldrums. Which brings us to the bottle at hand; Bowmore 12 year old. Bottled at 40% ABV, it's not quite the same as being in the distillery on Islay but it's a damn sight cheaper! 

Nose: Peat smoke with notes of brine, pencil eraser, plastic rope and wood polish. Honey and a subtle lemon aroma balance out the nose on this pungent Islay whisky.

Palate: Medium-bodied and a bit oily, the dram shows heather honey wrapped in an almost sooty peat smoke. Well-balanced, it's rounded out by a soft malty vanilla flavour and the suggestion of tropical fruit.

Finish: Long and peaty! Medicinal tones give way to a vegetative earthiness; iodine, a touch of seaweed, pencil eraser, new leather, smoke, and beeswax.

Overall: Bowmore 12 year old is a common sighting at most bars and liquor stores for good reason. Affordable and approachable, this whisky is moderately peated at 25ppm and serves as a good introduction to the inimitable stank of peat-reek. Like all good things in the LCBO, the price has been steadily increasing over the past few years. Now showing a price tag of $59.95, I can recall when this bottle was priced in the mid 40s! Still, this is a decent value for a single malt whisky and is heartily recommended. 

1 Comment

Excellent post. Quite a great choice.

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