As Bowmore (@bowmore1779) celebrate the rebranding and renaming of the Small Batch Reserve to just simply Small Batch we sampled the Small Batch.
Bowmore team up with Chef Mark Sargeant who has created several different recipes to celebrate the launch of Small Batch to the Off Trade. Learn more about this pairing here.
What Bowmore Say:
Exclusively matured in first and second fill ex bourbon casks, then blissfully married together, Small Batch exhibits the best qualities of both. First-fill bourbon offers delicious vanilla sweetness, subtle spices and bourbon oak smoke to complement Bowmore’s gentle peaty smokiness, while the second-fill cask enhances Bowmore’s fresh fruity complexity and showcases its trademark honey and creamy malt character.
What we say:
Bowmore have produced a lovely animation to accompany this launch which you can see here. We love the idea that instead of trying to produce or expect too much of one cask, that Bowmore use two different casks (one first-fill bourbon and one second-fill) to produce two very different whiskies, and then perfectly marry the two, ensuring that the depth of flavour and all the components they hoped to achieve have been reached and that every bottle is the same.
This is bottled at 40% ABV and is NAS, and is a rebranding of the former Small Batch Special Reserve. This is sold by a number of retailers and, notwithstanding any special offers, will retail at approximately £37.
Kirsty – (@kirstyclarke29)
Punchy at first, with a real lemon and lime zing, like the fizz upon opening a can of sprite. Sherbet and the gentle, powdered citrus notes of Lemon Bon Bons, coupled with the sherbet covered rice paper of the wonderful children’s sweets “flying saucers”. Mint and a slight herbal fern note, not as strong as menthol but enough to bring a real fresh note and a touch of the floral. After being allowed some time to open up in the glass the sweeter vanilla notes start to come through, but think lime flavoured toffee rather than just sweet milk and sticky caramel, not quite the vanilla sweetness I was expecting.
Light and peppery, spicier on the palate than the nose would suggest. The citrus notes are still present but become slightly heavier, losing some of the fizz, with orange more prevalent than the lime from the nose. Still fresh and floral, think heavily perfumed lilies and orchids with mint gently combining on the tongue. Finally the gentle smoke makes itself known, bringing with it a touch of vanilla, a rich, smooth, sweet custard before the damp oak wrapped in a stronger tobacco leaf smoke is left to linger.
This is a far gentler Bowmore than I am used to. It was very oily, which coats the mouth much like good olive oil. There is a gentle nuttiness, bringing with it an almond sweetness and a touch of vanilla fudge. It’s fairly light and floral, perhaps herbal more than floral, but the perfumed notes are there, but don’t let this fool you though, there is mint, and citrus by the truck load, and just enough smoke to help carry the finish on, and as the smoke starts to fade out there is a little salt left on the palate. In conclusion a lovely gentle introduction to Islay.
Stewart – (@StewartCraigon)
Lovely old fashioned cream soda is the first thing you can pick up, this is followed quickly by a zing of spice. Freshly squeezed lemon hits you clean in the face, then a fresh breeze whips over and cleanses your face. The smoke however seems to be non-existent, and I’m hoping it makes an appearance on the palate.
The palate is everything you expected from the nose, the cream soda and spice have a party on your tongue, before opening the door and letting the fresh lemon in. Honey is the next guest invited and a welcome one at that, and there is the peat, not over powering or too little, just the perfect amount. More spiciness is evident along with extra citrus fruit, before they all say their goodbyes, far too soon.
This is a cracker of a dram, plus points are gentle dram with a moreish palate, one dram of this just isn’t enough! The value for money is exceptional, well worth a purchase. The marrying of first fill and second fill bourbon casks has been done expertly, however I was maybe expecting a lot more vanilla notes. The negative points are just small personal grumbles of mine. It’s NAS, that’s fine but how many people would be put off if it said 8 year old (or whatever age it actually is) and had same price point? Older doesn’t always equal better. It’s also 40%, not a massive negative point but I do like my whisky to be at least 46%, as I said, just a personal preference. In conclusion, go get one, in fact get two, you won’t be disappointed!
Thanks to Bowmore for providing us with this sample.