Image pilfered from the SMWS website because I was silly and forgot to take a picture for this one.
I smelled Islay on this right away but it was odd because it was quite subdued in its peat profile, yet obviously cask strength. The only thing that came to mind was one of Kilchoman’s Cask Strength 100% Islay realeses. I didn’t even think about good old Bowmore. Bowmore is quite notorious for having sub-par distillery bottlings but an excellent base spirit, a lot of the damage being done by chill filtration and low ABV and this is an example of just how good the spirit can be if just left to do its thing.
Initial impressions: Light colour, a lot of bubbles, seems quite oily, thick legs. Smells of tobacco smoke and lemons.
Guess: Kilchoman 2008 100% Islay Cask Vatting (https://www.whiskybase.com/whiskies/whisky/96960/kilchoman-2008)
Aged 17 Years. 57.9% ABV. Matured in a refill ex-bourbon barrel. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from a single cask.
Nose: Wood smoke. Tar. Lemon oils. Herbal funk. Slightly aggressive. Creamy vanilla. Wet stones in the sun. Ozone.
Palate: Light, creamy vanilla. Wood. Tropical fruits. Underlying peat. Tobacco. White grape juice. Salt.
Finish: Long. Grape juice. Tropical fruits. Light wood. Light smoke.
Would I buy this: Yes
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
A really lovely Islay malt, quality as always from SMWS. Really a shining example of what Bowmore can be, especially with the fusion of fruit notes and subtle peat.