1st visit to Islay-Bowmore 12yo
Hi all, picked up my first Islay today. Also my first review, so please be gentle!
*spoiler* I have already finished half the bottle at the time of writing this...so you know it's a positive review :D
On my lunchbreak went to the bottleshop and bought a bottle of Bowmore 12yo. I chose this one as many experienced drinkers have recommended it as a good intro to Islay.
Holding a new, untried whisky in your hands is very exciting. The anticipation, the possibilities. It's like a first date. A first date with the Islay lass. Will she like me? Will I like her? Will she live up to your expectations? Will it be the start of something special, a long and enduring relationship? Will she share special milestones with you in the future, toasting special occasions such as family christmas, NYE, getting hitched or the birth of your child?
It was still lunchtime so I couldn't taste it but I couldn't resist to open it, to smell the perfume. Closed my eyes and smelt bbq charcoal firelighter(slight kerosene), before the meat starts cooking. Then a saltiness, not like seaside as many has described but to me more like the fish sauce(think anchovy) you put in your pho (vietnamese beef noodle soup). Very faint caramel then finishes with charcoal, again without the meat. Interesting....
Fast forward, at home now, just finished a sweet/spicy king prawn dish for dinner, been sucking on a few prawn heads. Rinse the palate with some warm water and a small square of cherry ripe to prepare for the whisky.
Using a recently acquired Glencairn glass. Was hesistant at first as I cherish my long serving Orrefors DOF and a thought the Glencairn was a bit pretentious but it really does bring it to another level with the smells.
Nose-the first time I nosed it was from a freshly opened bottle so I guess the smells were very concentrated. It's different in the glass. Bbq coals, aviation fuel, I'm at the airport terminal-no more fish sauce, more like seaside salt spray, being at the beach in the cooler months with a slight breeze. Faint sweet smell, vanilla, sherry.
I always disregard the first sip. The second, let it sit on the tongue, good body, creamy. A very mild quality burn. If I didn't know what I was drinking I would swear that this is older than 12 years. Very smooth for the age and price.
Wow, this is good. Again, plane fuel, slightly over-flamed toffee on your creme-brulee, custard, vanilla, bittersweet dark chocolate then miso-soup. About five minutes later, melted vanilla ice cream at room temp. Another ten minutes later, a familiar taste to me......what is it? I had to think..it was JW blue.
So.... the date was a success, we hit it off! But, will you still love me tomorrow? Will you respect me in the morning? I'll let you know if I have a headache tomorrow. I hope you have enjoyed my review, I certainly enjoyed my venture into Islay. Next stop- the lowlands with the Auchentoshan.
Thanks for the review!
I love the way you write, its not only banal tasting notes, there's a story behind the bottle. It's way more interesting!
I tasted the bowmore 12 at a bar a week ago as a newbie who wanted to try his first islay... I admit, i hated it, i look forward to like other islay but for now my favorite profile is sherried whiskies!
I see what you mean by kerosen smell mixed with peat and that is exactly what i disliked...
Looking forward to read other reviews, very pleasant to read!
Also, I am pleased to report no ill-effects from the Bowmore this morning.
Visited my in-laws tonight, they are fantastic cooks. My brother-in-law likes a drink as well, not exclusively whisky though. I bought my half bottle of Bowmore 12 with me. So after a dinner of prawns fried in a coconut-cream tempura style batter and an incredible banana flower with pigs tongue, pickled carrot and coriander salad, we finished off the Bowmore. Not sure if something happened to my palate, or because of what I had for dinner or the bottle changed from getting air in it, but it became very sweet.
My b-inlaw commented that it was very smooth and enjoyable and much better than the last bottle that I shared with him-Glenfiddich maltmasters sherry cask.
I've often read in tastings that some people find "goes down too easy" as a negative. For sure, my palate might have some way to go to understand this.
Bowmore 12 was my third Islay if I recall correctly, but the first bottle purchased from there, and I liked it right away too.
I suppose with the first bottle gone we can look for another update when you get your second one?
After that would be a Japanese. For my next Islay I would like to try the Lagavulin 16 which I feel is generously priced for a 16yo.
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