"Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whisky, and a dog to eat the rare steak.” - Johnny Carson

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Bowmore. Bringing the peat from Japan.

October 17, 2016

Bowmore. I started this visit with a dram. It was kind of a long ferry ride over to the island and I really wanted one! I started with Black Rock, a non-age statement. I am going to start this post with my tasting note to mix it up and to show we have finally arrived on Islay and the peat is finally here!

 

Black Rock- Non Age Statement

 

Holly’s Tasting Note..

Nose: Dried cranberries, older fruit, leather and plum.

Palate: Wood, cedar spice, raisins, sea salt, salty crackers, slight peat on the pallet with dry coco powder! Like right out of the Nesquik tin!

 

Not bad for a NAS!

 

Bowmore is owned by Beam-Suntory, the Japanese company. They still malt on site, making about 25% of what they need for production. Apparently the reason for keeping a small percentage of malting on site is similar to what I heard up in Orkney. If anything were to happen with the ferries, they will still have some malt on site. You can see below that we saw them raking the malt as they let it germinate after steeping. About 14,000 tons of barley can go on one malting floor. I also learned what “Monkey Shoulder” means! This is a blended malt brand from William Grant & Sons, but apparently the term comes from the rigorous work of turning the malt. This gave the malt-men bad shoulder

issues/injuries and they called this “monkey shoulder”. Too bad it means something negative, because that brand is really tasty! All of their malt, whether made on site or brought in is always peated to about 25-30PPM. Currently they are using Simpsons malting as their secondary source.

 

They have a Porteus mill and a beautiful wooden and copper mash tun. Actually, all of their low wines and spirit receivers were made of beautiful copper as well. Work was being done on the mash tun while I was there. They have 6 Oregon pine washbacks and instead of numbering them, they all have names of past owners. They use distillers yeast and add in 100 kilos of this to the wort. The fermentation period lasts for around 48 hours. This distillery is one of the few that claims they tried stainless steel washbacks, but the flavor of their new make spirit was altered, so they went back to wood immediately. There is a pair of spirit and wash stills. There was no reflux bulge, but the lyne arm was quite steep for the wash still.

They claim to have the oldest warehouse in Scotland that is over 200 years old. This is also the only warehouse that is “on-site”, the rest of the casks are warehoused just outside of town and apparently the sea waves will actually hit the side of the warehouse which may impact flavors they say! All casks are then sent just outside of Glasgow to be disgorged and bottled.

 

As of right now they don’t send anything away for blending. Their capacity is at about 1.5 million liters of new make per year. Here are two more bottlings that I was able to taste.

 

12 Year Old Bowmore Singe Malt

 

Holly’s Tasting Note..

Nose: Caramel corn, corn muffins from Dunkin Donuts, coffee cake, honey.

Palate: Toffee, chewy caramel chew, slight Laphroig (medical) peat, vanilla hand lotion.

Quite a sweet linger and gentle smoke.

 

15 Year Old Bowmore Single Malt

 

Holly’s Tasting Note..

Nose: Sherry, coco cola, big red gum, cider and apples, spicy fruit chew and some jelly beans.

Palate: Tart old apples, cigar spice, orange marmalade. Very rich.

This made the 12 smell so sweet! This was more rich and spicy.

 

Next up is Kilchoman..

 

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