Bowmore Surf Review

Bowmore Surf

40% abv

Score:  76.5/100


Bowmore and I are not the easiest of bedfellows.  At one point it was kind of a love/hate deal.  Some of my favorite drams (and further…my all time favorite whisky) are Bowmore.  At the same time some of the most unbelievably mediocre malts I’ve ever tried originated from the same distillery.  What gives?

Bowmore Surf is a Travel Retail exclusive, and not available here on our distant shores.  Normally if you tell me that I can’t have something I only want it more (market it a limited edition and I am f*cked…seriously.  Gotta have it).  Fortunately for my pocketbook, and consequently the longevity of my marriage…I don’t need to have this, no matter whether it is limited/exclusive/rare/whatever.

This is a malty young Bowmore.  And not a great one.  It is one from the lower end of the Bowmore spectrum, in terms of both price point and quality.  Age?  Not sure.  I’ve heard possibly a 12 year old.

Nose:  Notes of smoked meat, a bit of tangy citrus and earthy peat up front.  There are notes of chocolate, though none too bold, and salt.  Kinda more ‘sweat’ salt as opposed to ‘briny’ salt.  Yeah…exactly.  Not quite as bad as you’d think though.  Hints of dry and bitter dark berries (on both the nose and palate), and quite bitter greens (again…they show up across the tongue and on the nose).  Smoke on the palate, some gritty, briny grainy-ness.

The finish has some staying power and fortunately those more pungent and bitter notes mellow into something a little softer and caramel smooth after a few moments.  Pleasant and natural oak-leeched caramel, that is.

Not bad.  Not great.  You won’t find it around here, but I guess worth trying if opportunity presents.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:

9 thoughts on “Bowmore Surf Review

  1. Jeff

    Very interesting review and, although I’ve always been curious about those bottles, your comments largely confirm what has been said elsewhere about Bowmore’s NAS line. That Bowmore hasn’t been able to be as successful with this sort of product as Bruichladdich does make me wonder if the problem is in the malt or in the marketing.

  2. ATW Post author

    The views on this particular l’il write-up have been going through the roof the last couple of days. Anyone know why? Help?

  3. ATW Post author

    Thanks, guys! I knew about the Bowmore christening, but didn’t know it was Surf that was used. Nor did I put two and two together. A little dense of me, I suppose.

    Fortunately, I’ve tried some damn good Bowmore releases since this malt was originally tasted (2010…though the review posting here is 2012). Definitely a distillery back in my good graces. Laimrig, in particular, has me swooning.

    1. David

      I agree, the Laimrig is an excellent dram. Have you tried this year’s yet? I’m still nursing the 2013.

      1. ATW Post author

        No sir. We’ve only seen two editions here so far. Will be watching for each subsequent edition though!


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