Having now shared a few words on the first edition of Tempest, let’s contrast a little against a more recent version. This is Batch 3. Currently, a rebranded Batch 4 is sitting on the shelves here in Alberta. I’ve yet to try that most recent incarnation, but will hopefully get to it soon.
Bowmore has been doing a lot of things right in recent years. Some neat one-offs and some new editions to the range have been welcome additions. While I can’t necessarily get behind some of the younger NAS releases, such as Surf and Legend, I can say that the distillery is winning me back one bottle at a time. For a while there I was a little disillusioned.
Seeing as I spilled most of the beans in the previous review (linked above), I imagine I can be a little less wordy here, and simply dive in. Tempest Batch 3 is still a fierce dram, of course. Big and flavourful, rich and full of character. While it may not tick all the boxes the first batch did, I do still like it enough to buy and drink. This time ’round though, I believe you need to be a little more of a died-in-the-wool peathead to immediately cotton to this one. Batch 1 had a rounded sweetness that likely would have worked to broaden the appeal. Here you have a slightly sharper and more prickly Islay malt at a hefty abv. Highly possible that this one is not for the faint of heart. The peat and smoke are loud and obnoxious. That’s right up my alley, personally, but may make for a narrower target market.
While Batch 1 was an ‘old soul’ of a 10 year old, this a youthful 10. So be it. If you chance upon the different batches on the shelves anywhere though…I would highly recommend grabbing the first edition over the later ones. Just my two cents.
Nose: A lot of chocolate. Some hay and herbal notes. Dusty barn. Smoke. Lemon. Fish and brine. Some caramel pudding. Salt and pepper. Sea water. Maybe just a touch floral.
Palate: Big, sharp attack. Fishy notes and burning barley. Chocolate and licorice. Very ‘naked’. Ashy. Does somewhat bitter out a bit unfortunately. Lacks the balanced creaminess that made the first such a charmer.
Thoughts: A fairly one-dimensional malt that doesn’t hold a candle to the first batch. Having said that…it’s still a very fine dram. Expect something along the lines of Caol Ila or very young Port Ellen in terms of mouth attack.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt
Great review, as always. That’s the beauty of whisky, i guess, everyone has different experiences. Batch 3 was my favourite whisky of 2012. Found it quite multi-dimensional. Did well to sit 15-20 minutes, but didn’t require much water, as I recall.
Incidentally, I’m looking forward to picking up batch 4 this week.
*Note: I don’t mean this with any snark, but there is a typo on your last line, that says “Photot: Curt”
Thanks for the kind words, mate. Keep us posted on batch 4.
Appreciate the heads up on the typo too. Cheers!
I tried batch 5 this week. This is a stunner of a dram. I haven’t got to the point of being able to score it yet but it ticks off a lot of boxes. Peat in excess, citrus, grapefruit pith on the development and finish. Full flavour.
It’s at CS….and it has a 10 year age statement!
Note, just like with grapefruit juice, consuming too much CAN interfere with some medications
Thanks for opening it for me… It was really great, but the Amrut peated CS has more complexity. Less peat, but more tropical fruits…
I just recently opened my bottle of batch #6. You can’t mistake Bowmore for anything else and this one is quintessential Bowmore cranked up to cask strength. Love it.
I recently picked up batch 5. Not enjoying it as much as the batch 4 I had last year. Batch 5 oak screams out on this one, making it taste younger than even a ten year old. Through some fluky pricing and province to province purchasing, I recently acquired the latest Laimrig at almost the exact same price ($81 cdn). The Laimrig is on an entirely different level. I would rather just nose the Laimrig than drink this Tempest.
I would gladly swap Tempest 5 for the standard Bowmore 12. I am starting to think Bowmore really needs the Sherry to pull it together. I wasn’t a fan of the largely bourbon Bomore Small Batch either.
Where are you? I’ll run out and buy a Bowmore 12 and trade it to you.
I scored the 12 a generous 71/100. I tried the Tempest first as the last dram at a party, and was impressed by the peat blast but palate fatigue and the approaching cab prevented further study. It was dram #5 in a more relaxed setting with a friend, and I was able to appreciate more complexity. I’m sure this would score at least in the high 80s for me.
I’d like to get my hands on some of that $81 Laimrig. The last time we had it in BC, a couple of years ago, it was $115.
No question, the 15 YO Laimrig is the cream of the Bowmore crop. I have tried to like the 12 over the years, but I find it thin and underpowered. I’ll take the 10 YO Tempest over the 12 any day. This Batch #6 is the first one I’ve had. It’s by no means without it’s shortcomings (a bit rough on the arrival) but a good dribble of water levels it off nicely. I’ll take it over the 12 any day.
Merry Malty Christmas and Happy Cask Strength Chanukah to all you peat heads and sherry lovers.