Islay whisky is produced at a distillery on the Isle of Islay in Scotland. One of the most famous is Bowmore, a single malt with a rich and distinctive taste and aroma.
In this article, we will explain the appeal and types of Bowmore, a popular brand that you can fully enjoy the smoky aroma of peat and the deep taste of sweetness that are the characteristics of Ailau whisky. If you’re looking to enjoy Bowmore in the future, this is a great place to start.
What is Bowmore?
Bowmore is a single malt Scotch whisky made at Bowmore Distillery, the oldest distillery in Islay. It is characterized by a strong peaty flavor and smoky yet tidal flavor reminiscent of the sea. It’s also accompanied by a honeyed sweetness.
It is also popular with fans of Islay whisky, and has been called the “Queen of Islay”. You can enjoy its taste and aroma straight, on the rocks or in a highball. It is recommended for those who want to enjoy an authentic and high quality Islay whisky.
Where is Bowmore made?
The Bowmore Distillery, located on the beach on the island of Islay, is where “Bowmore” is made. The distillery is surrounded by the sea at 0 meters above sea level and the cellar is directly influenced by the sea breeze. That’s why the taste and flavor of the single malt produced at Bowmore Distillery is so appealing.
The distillery is also known as the distillery that Queen Elizabeth II of England visited in 1980. On the occasion of the Queen’s visit, a special whisky barrel was built to welcome her and was filled with whisky that had just been distilled in front of her.
The cask was opened in 2020 and the whisky was presented to the royal family on the 50th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation. The cask from that time still hangs in the distillery’s warehouse.
The History of Bowmore
In 1779, David Simpson, a local merchant, founded the Bowmore Distillery. Since then, the distillery has continued to maintain its traditional methods despite acquisitions and name changes, and in 1994, the Japanese liquor company Suntory Holdings acquired 30% of the capital.
Suntory, which became the owner of the company, improved the state of the business, which had been in a state of deterioration. And it remains one of Scotland’s most traditional and historic distilleries’ whiskies, and is still much sought after today.
The barley is spread out on the floor of the germination chamber with enough water and malted by the maltster, who turns it over from time to time with a wooden shovel to produce malt. This is the traditional method of floor malting, or “floor malting”, for Scotch whisky.
Once the malted malt has germinated properly, it is cooked in peat and dried in a hot air drying tower called a “kiln” to stop its growth. The milled malt is then soaked in hot water and the wort is squeezed out.
The wort is placed in a wooden vat fermentation tank and the resulting mash is then carefully distilled twice in a copper distillation kiln called a “pot still” to produce the original sake. The distillate is then placed in barrels and matured for a long time.
The main feature of Bowmore Distillery is its location near the sea, where the barrels are stored during the aging process. The barrels, made of wood, are exposed to their surroundings in no small measure, and years of exposure to the sea breeze are said to give Bowmore its distinctive tidal character.
Types of Bowmore
Bowmore 12 years
This single malt is one of the most popular single malts in Bowmore, and has gained worldwide popularity. The smoky aroma of peat and the soft, fruity taste are perfectly balanced.
While the smokiness is strong, it is neither too strong nor too weak, and is refreshing to drink. Therefore, it is relatively easy to drink, even for those who do not like Islay malt. It also offers Bowmore’s signature tidal aroma and slight honey-like sweetness, as well as a long, lingering finish.
For food pairings, we recommend seafood such as sashimi of tuna, which complements the smokiness and tidal aroma of Bowmore.
Bowmore 15 years
A type of Bowmore malt matured in bourbon barrels for 12 years and then in Oloroso sherry barrels for a further three years. Woody, slightly sweet and deep flavors from the barrels can be fully appreciated. It has a smoky flavor with hints of dark chocolate and raisins.
It’s warm yet powerful, with a hint of sherry on the finish. The best way to enjoy this beer is to compare the difference in taste between it and the Bowmore 12 Year Old.
Bowmore 18 years old
The sherry maturation process has resulted in a supple, sweet taste that you can enjoy to your heart’s content. You can also enjoy the distinctive aroma of the Bowmore, with a pleasant smoky flavor.
It also has a creamy and fruity balance, and can be enjoyed all the way to the finish. We recommend pairing it with dried fruit and bitter chocolate.
Bowmore 18 Year Old Deep & Complex
This brand is available exclusively in duty-free shops, with a mature and rich taste, aged in Oloroso sherry and Pedro Ximenez barrels. It has a firm sherry nuance and a burnt and spicy flavor.
It has a fruity sweetness and a smoky aroma from the peat. It is also oily and elegant on the palate, with complex flavors of milk chocolate, prunes and dried cranberries. The smokiness lingers on the finish, with a sweet iodine note that lingers on the palate.
Bowmore 25 years old
This is the oldest brand of Bowmore, aged for 25 years, which allows you to fully enjoy the mature and deep flavor of the whiskey. This whisky won the top prize at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, an international competition for alcoholic beverages.
The smoky aroma of peat is gentle, and the sweetness of the sherry barrels can be appreciated. It’s also rich and powerful, with a sweet and mellow finish that lingers on for a long time.
This is a type of Bowmore matured in Cellar No.1 Vaults, the oldest cellar in Bowmore distillery. It is matured in the cellar located at 0 meters above sea level, so the unique aroma of the seaweed is very prominent.
It is characterized by citrus and honey flavors and a pleasant smoky taste that can be enjoyed slowly. And it finishes with a vanilla-like sweetness and a refreshing lime taste and flavor.
This is a rare breed of Bowmore from the “No. 1 Vaults” cellar. The smoky aroma of peat is intense and balanced with the tidal aroma of the storage and aging process.
It has a cocoa and blood orange taste, as well as a long, lingering finish that is also spicy and robustly sweet. Drink it on the rocks for a dry, mild taste. When drunk on the rocks, it’s dry and mild, and when drunk with a highball, it enhances the aroma of seawater and smokiness, allowing you to enjoy the Bowmore flavor to the fullest.
Bowmore Small Batch
Bowmore balances pleasant smoky flavors with spicy and sweet flavors. A rare breed, made from a small number of original bottles, aged in “first-fill” and “second-fill” bourbon barrels.
It is characterized by a distinctive tidal aroma and sweet vanilla notes. In addition, it has a complex, deep taste of citrus and cinnamon. And it also leaves a soft sweetness and a lingering lime sensation.
Light and fresh on the palate, this is an enjoyable entry-level brand of Bowmore. It’s soft on the palate and has a robust smoky finish. The peat is neither too strong nor too weak, making it an easy type of whiskey to drink, even for those who don’t like the distinctive aroma of Islay whiskey.
It also offers complex sweet notes of nuts, vanilla and honey, as well as fruity flavors like toast and dried citrus fruits. We recommend drinking it as an after-dinner drink or pairing it with a sweet treat such as fruit.
Bowmore Gold Reef
Bowmore has a shiny gold hue, like gold reef. Tropical notes like vanilla and coconut milk from the aging of the bourbon barrels, as well as hints of aromatics and citrus.
Also, the smokiness of the peaty intensity is perfectly matched by the fruity sweetness and acidity of the pine and kiwi flavors. It is accompanied by a rich honey-like sweetness. It has a light finish, but the spiciness and citrusy freshness of the finish is what makes it so appealing.
Bowmore has a distinctive peaty Islay malt aroma and a unique tidal aroma that you can fully enjoy. We recommend enjoying it straight, on the rocks, or in highballs for a change in flavor. Use this article to compare the different types of whiskeys from the Bowmore distillery and find your favorite one.