Strength: 43 %
Something wonderful must happen to Bowmore between 12 and 15 years. The whisky fairy steals into the warehouse some night and sprinkles holy water over the barrels, and the thin, mediocre 12-year-old liquid blossoms into a richly flavored, well balanced whisky. The notes are largely the same, but in the 18-year-old they reach their fullest expression. On the nose, caramel, flowers, and peat and smoke. On the palate, rubber and menthol, salty and medicinal, perhaps some spiciness added by a slight sherry influence. The peat has mellowed out but is just the right amount to balance the rest of the flavors. The finish is long and leaves peat and sea in the mouth.
The 18-year-old expression replaced the 17-year-old when Bowmore rebooted and repackaged their lineup a couple of years ago. The 18 is similar to the 17 but has a little less peat while having stronger flavors overall (and perhaps a larger sherry influence, though I might be imagining the sherry influence to begin with). 94 points (A).
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