Review: Bowmore 18 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

18 years; Bourbon and Sherry Casks
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Bowmore (Bowmore, Scotland)

I actually know very little about this bottling, other than that it was the replacement for the Bowmore 17 year old in 2007 and that it is made from a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks.

Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

Nose: Vanilla, oak, ash, caramel, a bit of pine, and a slight sourness come through, with a slight touch of acetone. There’s some citrus too – orange and lemon zest. It’s ok – but not outstanding.

Taste: Smoke seems to come in at first, edging out the slightly sour and salty whisky – with the oak taking its place more firmly with some spices towards the finish. That being said, the whisky isn’t overly oaky. There are hints of orange throughout. I find a good level of underlying sweetness – I wouldn’t describe it as sweet, but it is at a good level to balance the salt, the sourness, and the smoke.

Finish: This whisky really takes off here – first smoke, which soon breaks down to vanilla, oak, dried apricot, black pepper, and caramel. The smoke, with a slightly salty edge, remains for some time. The mouth dries out slightly after some time.

This whisky is ok, but I hope for a bigger base for the gentle peat and some more subtlety than I find here, especially after 18 years in a cask.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low. Close to $200 for me means that this has to be one of the best whiskies you can buy, so not a value pick for me.