Immediately after opening the bottle and pouring ourselves a dram, the nose on this dram struck us as quite strange, presenting with pencil erasers put in a pencil sharpener, with the shavings thereof then used to create a floor lining that’s durable and bouncy but also entitled “Erasing My Life.” If it were a weed growing in your yard, you’d avoid mowing it for fear of releasing and widely aerating it. It’s also not unlike smelling the armpit of a plastic action figure–unless you’re into that sort of thing, in which case it’s not like that at all. Imagine a brand new Stretch Armstrong embracing you–along with a sequoia–and you’ll have an idea of how the initial hit of the nose went for us, at least for the most part. But there’s also note of roasted Anaheim peppers atop a bed of dandelion greens in a rusted iron bowl, and we dug that part.
Amazingly, after that nose, the mouth is straight, classic Bowmore. Incredible. The mouthfeel is a bit watery, but the overall effect is rich, smooth, and creamy. There’s grassy and earthy notes, but they’re enrobed in the gentle Bowmore smokiness and mild peat we all know and love. We also detected a hint of lemon that’s wonderfully melancholy: a Wuthering Heights lemon. Or maybe that last is just a slight astringency–it’s hard to tell, and with the classic Bowmore mouth components engaging your tongue, you don’t really care. The finish is long and gentle with a nice balance of peat and spice and faint bitterness.
Come back to the nose later, and the plasticy note is gone, replaced by notes of lemony earthiness (no relation to Lemony Snicket). A high note that’s still uncharacteristically Bowmore resides there, but it’s quite pleasant now overall. Leave the nose to open up even longer, and there are leafy and orange-y notes, like palm fronds sprayed with orange oil and fashioned into a basket and sent down the river to celebrate little baby Moses–and to set the stage for a Jewish version of Ricky Bobby. The nose is so different now, it’s unsettling. Could it be this different over such a short period of time? It’s a Schrödinger’s cat of a nose, but with a Bizarro twist. Either that, or you just need to let it open up for a while before you get into it. Though we love the concept of the former, we’ll grant it’s probably the latter.
The Bowmore Small Batch Bourbon Cask is “the students I teach just get younger every year, while I stay the same.”–Back to school time is upon us, people. Get out there and fight the good fight. Don’t get captured.
–Our thanks to Iain McCallum and Bowmore for the sample!