Whisky samples are not easy to find in Australia, so when I saw Bowmore 12 samples for $9.95 I snapped one up! Bowmore is an Islay whisky with a slightly iffy reputation. But I like people's descriptions of the whisky, so why not? I am not sure how old this sample is, but the label says it is 43 abv, so maybe it is an older one.
About half a teaspoon
Immediate reaction: I like this whisky! Jim Murray calls the distinctive odour of Bowmore "Fisherman's Friend", and I can see why. While Ardbeg and Caol Ila are smoky but phenomenally dry, Bowmore seems much more sweet. But it is a sort of spicy sweetness, as if some as yet undiscovered sweet spice rather like cinnamon or nutmeg. Slightly soapy and medicinal quality, in the finest tradition of Islay.
Blue cheese hint like Benriach Curiositas, but sweet rather than dry. Nosed side by side, Curiositas is actually markedly similar to this, but the Speysider seems to have a saltier, drier nose, almost like those corn crisps with tangy powder on them. By comparison, Bowmore 12 is sweet, medicated and spicy. Also briny, seashelly and a bit like Talisker. A touch of sweat.
Unfortunately, not many similes spring to mind to describe the sweetness; maybe I should cheat and use Jim Murray's cough sweet analogy, though that is not really adequate.
Pow! After the sweet nose, a shockingly dry palate. Peat smoke, tea, some mint (though some of that may be due to a recent tooth-brushing). The peat on the palate is very vegetal and pleasing, different from the dry, dry peat of your Ardbeg or Caol Ila.
Faint, grassy and slightly minty.
Overall, I would call the Bowmore 12 a surprise for me. I'm pleased I'm not getting the horrid perfume notes that used to exist in this whisky. I am a little disappointed in the taste and finish, after an intriguing, yummy nose.
O Great Sun Disc
Thou art very great.
Thou art robed in power
and in majesty.
Thou goest down
and it is night.
The young lion roars after his prey