Many, many years ago, Bowmore 12 Year was our first introduction to Islay scotch. And it proved to be quite the intro, quickly cementing our love for Islay whiskies and their rich, smoky qualities. Just recently, Bowmore announced a new addition to its lineup — Bowmore Small Batch — which is aged exclusively in first and second fill ex bourbon casks. Those casks are married together before bottling, and the result is a flavorful dram with pops of bourbon sweetness and fresh fruit.
Bowmore Small Batch pours a crisp, clear gold in the glass. On the nose, it’s full of peat, vanilla and honey, plus a mild cinnamon spice. It’s not as peaty and smoky as Bowmore 12, but it’s an unmistakable Islay whisky. Take a sip, and things move toward fruit — primarily peach, pair and citrus. The mouthfeel is soft and savory. The palate is less smoky than the nose would indicate, as here the peat takes a back seat. But mingling with fruit, vanilla and wisps of smoke, this is a well-balanced whisky from start to finish.
With such easy-drinking qualities (and a modest price tag), Bowmore Small Batch is a great introduction to Islay single malts. With notes of peat smoke, brine and salt, it’s characteristically Islay, but an overall gentler example than many others in the category. Bowmore Small Batch is available now in retailers nationwide.
– 40% ABV
CE Rating: ★★★★