We’ve tried a couple of Bowmore already on More Drams, and they were stunning, but they were both from independent bottlers, and at cask strength. One was a single cask that came from La Maison Du Whisky in its Artist series, and the other was a small batch from the SMWS. But obviously, the central Islay based distillery has an official range. And, poor me, the only sample I have from the high-end part of the range, thanks to my friend Aurélien, and Bowmore‘s French ambassador Antoine. So thanks to them, let’s review this Bowmore 25-year-old.
Bowmore 25-Year-Old (2021) Review
This 25-year-old Bowmore, sitting on the top of Bowmore’s core range, was matured in American oak Bourbon Casks & Spanish oak Sherry Casks. It is bottled at 43%, unfortunately chill filtered and with E150 colouring. Expect to pay £380 in the UK (at TWE and HTFW for instance), and about €370 in France (so it’s bit less expensive) at Whisky Paris.
Salty smoke at first, with earthy and maritime notes. Hints of iodine, wet pebbles, drying kelp, and wood fire smoke. There are some spices in the background, and warm smells of dried meat, leather and dried orange peels.
Spicy and slightly bitter arrival. The mouthfeel is unfortunately thin, but that was to be expected at this low ABV and with chill filtration. The smoke from burning oak in the chimney surrounds red fruits and dark chocolate with salt crystals. Over infused black tea shows a bit too much wood contrast with hints of the sweetness usually found in PX maturation or finish.
That smoke draped sweetness lingers on, with strawberry soup and oaky chunks, for a medium length.
This is unfortunately another proof that chill filtration and low ABVs are some of the worst enemies of whiskies, and I still cannot understand why distilleries would choose to release whiskies at low strength, with chill filtration. On an entry level, even though it’s a shame already, I can understand, and lowering the ABV will lower the taxes and global cost. But on a €300-400 whisky, I just cannot understand. If we forget the ABV, this whisky is good, so it really is a shame. And I was able to try at Whisky Live Paris the 27-year-old from the Timeless series and the 30-year-old annual release, bottled respectively at 52.1% and 45.1%, and it worked. Especially for the 27yoI liked the nose and the palate (I’d say the nose slightly more than the palate), with its lovely draping smoke letting other smells and flavour shine through. Maybe a bit too much wood and bitterness for me on the palate. Might we have this at 46-48%, and whilst you’re at it, with its natural colour, please?