Bowmore 12 y.o. Review

Bowmore 12 y.o.004

40% abv

Overall:  84.5/100


This is one of the entry level Bowmore releases.  While there are one or two slightly less expensive variants (Legend, Surf, etc) the quality in the bottle is reflective of the lower digits following the dollar sign (or pound…or euro).  If it’s your first time tackling this distillery’s output…start here, not at one of the lesser siblings.

Those fearing the primal brawny lash and bold palate associated with big peaty Islay malts may rest assured that Bowmore 12 is a much more approachable dram.  There is an odd amalgamation of Islay and not Islay in the bottle here.  Sure, there is a bit of a medicinal edge and some peatiness, and some tarry meaty notes but these are much restrained here and held in check in favor of an emphasis on sweet smoke, salt and citrus.


Nose:  The smoke here is tame and savoury-sweet. If you’ve ever cooked with Liquid Smoke you’ll have an idea as to the nose of this whisky.  Temper that with a citric (zest and pithiness) peat tang, briny Islay seabreeze and a slight iodine dressing. Some shaved chocolate.  Smoked oyster with lemon juice.  This is about as close as I can get to what you’ll pick up on the nose.

Palate:  This isn’t a big whisky (maybe it would be at a higher abv).  In fact the arrival is so silky smooth that it is almost disappointing.  Credit where credit is due though…it is distinct from the other Islay malts and it is quite tasty. Smoke…lemon…chocolate…some earthy, vegetal salty notes from the peat.  A few odd sharper notes throw the balance off just towards the end though.

All in all…quite a decent whisky. I like it. Great for a mildly stormy night. Save the Supernova for the first real snowstorm of the year.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

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