Our thoughts as we dance with the Devil
We finally get round to sampling the second small batch release in the sell-out Devil’s Cask series.
What Bowmore Say:
Exclusively matured in the finest first fill sherry casks (which is unusual for Bowmore), the second small batch release of Devil’s Casks is still mischievous. Having mellowed under a cloak of smooth velvet and sublime sherry cask indulgence, it reveals even more of Bowmore’s devilish dark side. This small batch release is, quite simply, devilishly good! The expression gets its name from a legend nearly as old as the distillery itself. It was claimed that the Devil was once spotted and chased through the town, eventually hiding away in the distillery. After searching, the Devil was nowhere to be seen, having made his escape in a whisky barrel.
Rachel Barrie, Master Blender, Morrison Bowmore Distillers, said:
“The first edition of this expression was one of the most sought after whiskies of 2013. This second small batch release will no doubt emulate that success thanks to its devilishly tasty dark side, in debt to the first-fill sherry casks it has been carefully mellowed in.”
What we say:
Looking forward to giving this a try! Only 6000 bottles made and 540 for the UK market, this unsurprising sold out in only 2 minutes on The Whisky Exchange, this small batch release is bottled at 56.3% ABV and matured exclusively in sherry casks, this will be an interesting Bowmore with a twist.
Straight in with the dark fruits on this one, you’re tempted into the forest, picking brambles to eat along the way. Finally you reach grandma’s house and she is cooking something wonderful, there’s stewed plums, with cinnamon bark and ground spice, there’s apples stuffed with sultanas and raisins and baking away in the oven. Nutmeg lingers in the air with just a hint of walnut shells and walnut chocolate cake. In comes the rubber notes so atypical of sherried whisky, but with it, almost simultaneously, is dark chocolate. Not any old dark chocolate, but 90% cocoa solids from, somewhere dark and mystical like Peru. This softens the sulphuric notes down, and makes them more palatable perhaps to those who do not usually tolerate these notes. Then there’s just the smallest hint of rock salt, it’s balanced by a treacle softness, like a wonderful treacle tart and just a hint of sawdust.
Heat, wow, this is one hot dram, this is incredibly aptly named. Once that abates, there is a rush of dark, sticky, gooey fruits, plums, damsons, blackberries, apples, raisins, sultana’s and just a touch of overripe banana right at the back. There’s a little strawberry sweetness, before the cinnamon, ground spice and star anise waltz all over your mouth. There’s a chewy, almost sappy (as in pine sap) quality and if I am not mistaken just the smallest touch of menthol and eucalyptus leaves. There are peppercorns of every colour from the milder black to the strong, punchy green and pink. Once the fire has all but died, you are left with an overwhelming sweetness, maple syrup and black treacle with just a touch of soot, like the dying embers of a fire at dawn.
This is one dram that isn’t going to be hurried. Sweet and viscous, you can feel the heat long after the final sip, the fruits are centre stage and are there till the bitter end.
This is beautiful, strong yet balanced, loud yet quiet. The sulphuric notes found on the nose, have for me, been all but erased by the fruit which is to be found at every turn. The spices are perfect and the heat is just right. It’s hot at first, but that soon eases, and as it does so, all the complexities are there. The stewed fruits are mouth-watering, the nuttiness gives a texture and the menthol washing over the sooty smokiness, cools and cleans, making this dram more refreshing than, on paper, it ought to be. A fantastic second edition to the series, and if this is anything to go on, I can’t wait till the third release.
Heavy paint notes throw themselves out of the glass straight away. They hang around for a while before being joined by the familiar sultana note that is so often associated with sherried whisky. Next up is sticky toffee pudding and lashings more stewed fruits, such as apples and pears. They quickly subside and leave you with a touch of spice floating on a fresh hot wind.
The first thing that hits you is Dunlop tyre, straight in the face! One that’s been on fire from a burning car, this quickly leaves, leaving you with the lovely fruity notes we have come to love with sherried whisky. Sultanas, raisins and a hint of black grape are all present and stay with you until the dram is gone. Just at the end some smoke comes into play, more ashy than peaty. The heat from the dram makes a welcome return and the spice that was on the nose joins in the fun.
The mouth is coated with the fire from the Devil himself and stays with you long after the dram has disappeared. A wonderful fruitiness is left enticing you to take another sip just before the spice exits.
A wonderfully well named dram that could have come from the dram the Devil hid in. Fiery, potent, but not so much you notice the high alcohol content. A wonderful sequel to last year’s release. This Devil keeps calling the tune and you have to dance with him.