Bowmore – 12 Year Old – 2001 – The Exclusive Malts – Single Malt Scotch Whisky | 58.4% (116.8 Proof) $109.99
Sample provided by ImpEx Beverages
Look/Appearance: Orange/red that quickly grabs more darkness at different angles. Very nicely ambered. Ample sherry cask influence showing easily and at a nice twelve years this cask strength dram looks downright charming. The Exclusive Malts are an up and coming independent bottler, founded in 2005. They have a rather nice bottle design with a good mix of old and new. Clean modern type on the label mixed with a classy embossed crest and lower label that clearly states it is cask strength and natural color. It’s so nice that most independent bottlers give you an even more pure product than the distillers themselves.
Nose: Orange, cherries, rich chocolate, almond, and jasmine. This merges with a peaty core where sweet becomes savory. Cured pork, leather, light ash, soft smoke and musk. Crepes Suzette drizzled with chocolate in a classy joint on a rainy day in late fall. As soon as I received this sample in the mail I was intoxicated with the smell coming out of this tiny bottle.
Palate: Tarry cherries and a wonderfully strange mossy perfume. Chocolate moves into strawberries, then the moss dissolves into chewy creosote and finally some light oak emerges. Only to then perk back up with some orange where it seems to start all over again. Wonderful things are happening here as it feels almost custardy in the mouth. So nice. Smoky tarry medicine sweetened with cherry chocolate almond sauce. The palate and the nose are so complimentary, both exhibiting qualities of greatness.
Finish: Long and with so many notes from the nose and palate going several rounds before retreating. A nice minty freshness here and lingering warmth.
Overall: Fun fun stuff. Really rather decadent with the sherry taking this on quite a ride. I wasn’t expecting the chocolate notes and found it to be a very delicious surprise. The Islay peat is represented but this is no one hit wonder. Lots of richness and development make this a rather astounding twelve year old. The peat is always there pushing up the amplitude of the other flavors while also serving to counteract any possibility of too much sweetness from the malt and sherry cask. I would have said that this a little expensive for a twelve year old but now that I have tasted it I am reminded that age is only a number and each cask is unique. This fine Bowmore is a perfect example of how an amazing cask of any age can blow your mind. This would make a fine addition to my cabinet and makes me think I need to try a lot more whisky from Bowmore. Gosh as I finish this review and look at the last sip sitting there in my glass I really wish I had some more. Reviewing from samples is great for the experience but when you really like the whisky it leaves you rather sad. Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.