Here we review the limited edition, small batch Tempest IV from Bowmore, each release in the series has similar nuances, but there is always a difference between each release.
This 10 year old is the fourth release in the Tempest series, in which a small batch is bottled in first fill ex bourbon casks and bottled at 55.1% ABV. This is sold by a number of retailers including here at £50.45 for a 70cl bottle.
So enough talking, time to review.
The unmistakable smell of Islay! That fantastic sea salt, like standing on the deck of the ferry on the way to Islay, the spray hitting your face and the wind in your hair. Sweeter, lighter notes of lemon and lime start to make themselves known with a sweet vanilla smoothness, like custard, cream and fudge all mixed together. There’s a touch of honeyed oranges, honeysuckle and orchard fruits and a hint of fresh, ripe blackberries. Next come in the heavier smoky notes, with char-grilled tuna steak, wrapped in silky, salted pancetta cooked over a camp fire on the beach. There’s a slight metallic tang and iodine rich, seaweed wafts in bringing some pine, and a touch of oak as it does.
Salted lemons, and rich tangy lime are first to hit the palate, these are then elbowed out of the way by the salted, smoky, ashy, almost dirty notes. They flit back and forth between lemon and lime and smoke, salt and peat, arm wrestling for supremacy. There’s a wonderful sweetness that coats the palate, as the smoke heads straight to the roof of your mouth. There is a nod to the cask, but just fleeting. At moments there is a touch of milk chocolate and a little pecan, before a touch of sweet yet sour good quality balsamic comes through, all with a hint of white pepper hiding in the background.
The finish is long, and although there are a few drying tannin notes, the sweetness tempers this perfectly. The smoke is still floating on the top of the palate, like helium, but without the funny voice. As the smoke starts to the fade there is still a lovely sweetness that lingers on.
Far smoother than you may first have thought. As with most Bowmore releases the higher ABV’s work perfectly, bringing some heat and some spice but never too much. The sweetness and saltiness is perfectly balanced, making this a surprisingly smooth dram, that is well balanced and complex. This would be perfect in summer with its fruity notes, but also perfect in winter, where the smoke and the meatiness take over. A dram for all Seasons.
Fresh lemon zest with a hint of lime, milk chocolate buttons melting in the sun. A pile of wood shavings freshly shorn. White wine spritzer, gum drops and lastly a slight hint of seaweed that’s been on the beach for a couple of days.
Chewy mint toffees is the first thing that hits and lots of fresh mint. Some blood orange makes an appearance along with the wood shavings from the nose. Next up is a terrific hit of chocolate sauce, the kind you drizzle on ice cream, and swirls around the mouth for what feels like an eternity before making way for some spicy hot tamales.
Silky yet hot, the full ABV can be felt. A lovely hit of toffee is the last note on this dram.
A cracking fiery hot dram that lives up to its name. Perfectly aged and a wonderful balance of, spice and all things nice that Bowmore are famous for. An absolute steal and a worthy addition to anybody’s whisky corner.