Dram Review: Bowmore batch 1 – That Boutique-y Whisky Company

Thanks to the chaps at Master of Malt for sending me this sample for review.

As regular readers will know, the range of “That Boutique-y Whiskies” are crafted by master of malt and given a craft presentation with 50cl bottles and a specially designed label evocative of the distillery that the whisky represents.

The Bowmore label shows the front of the distillery in Bowmore with a schoolboy carrying a bra being chased by one of the life guards from the pool that is heated by waste heat from the stills at Bowmore. Here are the dramstats:


  • Price £52.95
  • ABV 48.7%
  • 50cl

Nose: Mmmm, that’s a nice fruity Bowmore nose! The peat is there of course, but is wrapped in dark fruits, blackcurrant liquorice and fishermans friends. Sniffs alternate between fruity peat and coastal notes such as a seafood platter with lemon, lobster traps. There is also cherry crumble in there. Gorgeous nose!

Palate: Salty peat, vanilla, grilled prawns and sea spray with blackcurrant liquorice and black jacks.

Finish: Black jacks, briney then peat with an ashy vanilla finish.

Verdict: One of those palates where the “notes” I’ve given just do justice to the pleasure given by the combination. It’s excellent.


The 12 drams of xmas: Day 10

Continuing the series of reports on the 12 drams of xmas twitter tasting event:

Quick reminder: 11 online whisky enthusiasts poured half a bottle of whisky into 10 sample bottles and sent them to the other 10 taking part. The bottles were marked only with the number of the day we were due to start. On the given day, we all blind tasted the chosen dram and tried to guess what it was.

Though I did well on some of the drams and embarrassingly badly on some others, I’m posting my tasting notes, my unedited guesses and revealing the answers.

Dram #10 was from Femke Tijtsma Sijtsma  (@Girl_Whisky on twitter) and author of The Whisky Girl Blog. Here are my notes:

Nose: Malty wash (that you might get to try on a good distillery tour), white wine and pears.

Palate: There is a touch of white grape and it’s quite savoury.

Finish: Malty and very (too) short though slightly drying. In my notes I’ve written “Meh!”.

My guess: A pretty dull dram for me. I guessed a blended whisky at 40% ABV, but it wasn’t a blend I recognised. I went for VAT 69.

The answer: Bowmore 12 year old 40%ABV

This really surprised me. I’m a Bowmore fan, though I prefer to go for the indie bottlings or the cask strength expressions. It didn’t even strike me as an Islay. I think the answer surprised many of the bloggers, so I’m not alone.

The Coopers Choice, Bowmore 1998

No sooner than had I decided to jump in with both feet and start blogging about whisky, I came down with the dreaded autumn cold. If only I’d kept a back log of tasting notes!

Luckily I’ve come out the other side and was able to review a wonderful independent bottle of Bowmore from the coopers choice. I’ve really gotten into independent Bowmores lately. I’ve noticed, from conversations with other whisky geeks and listening to some of the more prominent experts, that there is not a lot of love out there for Bowmore. Personally I love the unique Bowmore character, but I do feel it needs a craft presentation. Done right, it’s a wonderful and unique dram and really takes me back to Islay.

This February, Mrs Dramstats and I rented a college a few doors away from here:


The first day of our stay was a Sunday and, as there were no tours of any of the distilleries on after 3pm (when we arrived), I headed to the local whisky shop to pick up a bottle for the evening. I didn’t want to pick up any of the Own Bottling’s for the distilleries we’d be visiting, as I usually like to pick my favourites from the tasting sessions and buy those. However, I did want to make sure the first bottle I bought was an Islay!

So I opted for an Independent bottling of Bowmore by The Cooper’s Choice. Here are the dram stats.

  • Distillery: Bowmore
  • Distilled: 1998
  • Bottled: 2009
  • ABV 46%
  • Cask: Refill butt
  • Non chill filtered, natural colour
  • Price: about £40

Nose: Signature Bowmore with ozone, floral, peat, smoked mussels, fisherman’s friends. Like smoking fish on the beach with perfume-wearing girls at Loch Indall!

Palate: Peat, fisherman’s friends, then a wave of sea spray with mild white pepper and more smoke.

Finish: White pepper and salty peat fades quite quickly in a pleasant yet clean finish. This one gets in, gets you, then gets out.

Verdict: A real session dram this one (only 1/4 of the bottle made it off Islay, despite picking up 5 more bottles of whisky on distillery tours). An enjoyable and engaging nose, a lovely delivery and a short clean finish that brings forward the next sip. It won’t be long before I pick up another independent bottling of Bowmore!