Bowmore Travel Retail Tweet Tasting

3rd April 2014

We were lucky enough to receive an invite to the Bowmore Travel Retail (@bowmore1779) Tweet Tasting and chocolate pairing hosted by European brand ambassador Ally Dickinson (@whisky_Ally).

On tasting tonight is: Bowmore Gold Reef, Bowmore White Sands and Bowmore Black Rock.

I tweeted as (@whiskycorner), Stewart took care of bedtime (thanks).

Kirsty’s Notes

Gold Reef
Gold Reef

Bowmore Gold Reef – £59.99 for 1ltr Bottled at 43% and paired with gorgeous “Hotel Chocolat” (@hotelchocolat) Salted Caramel Chocolates

Nose:

Sweet, soft red fruits, plums and damsons aplenty, before sweet honeyed orange and waxed lemons come through.  Vanilla follows with a softer, sweeter complexity coming through, bringing with it caramel notes and just a touch of salt.  Sweet popcorn & melted butter fade as the smoke gently wafts in, like a mist over the ocean and with it a slight briny edge.  Lastly the dying embers of a fire with a touch of toasted marshmallows.

Palate:

Smoke hits hard at first, bitter peat, drying with plenty of damp oak and salted driftwood, before the sweet mandarins and mint come through.  Salted sweetness coming through as the peat tails off, with honey and a floral heather edge, with just a touch of polish and vanilla cream.  The spices start to come through with white pepper, a slight chilli tingle and hot green peppercorns softening into mellow ginger wrapped up in a cloud of peat smoke a great combination.

Once paired with the chocolate, the sweet notes actually fade a little and in comes a savoury, slightly meaty, smoky, salted note with the spices enhanced.

Finish:

Soft, sweet, medium finish, oily yet creamy, mellow with the pepper and ginger the very last to leave the party.

White Sands
White Sands

Bowmore White Sands – 17yo – £79.99 for 70cl bottled at 43%ABV

Nose:

A total change of pace, so fresh and fruity with plenty of green apples, ripe pears and sweet soft mango.  Reminiscent of warm fruit salad sweets and sweet fresh grass.  Homemade lemonade, warm suntan lotion, underlying coconut and just a touch of mustiness, before lovely cereal notes come through with some sweetened porridge, and just the tiniest touch of smoke, wrapped in milk.   As this opens up in the glass I just can’t see past the lovely caramel, toffee & molasses notes on this, the apples are still there but so much sweeter and softer.

Palate:

Caramel & Vanilla flood the mouth, before apples, pears and a hint of nectarine take over.  Slight ginger dries the palate with a little sawdust and lime, with oak and autumn air coming into the mix, tailing off to gentle peat smoke with an earthy, chalky, slate & dust texture, like playing dress up as a child with vintage clothes in a musty loft.

Finish:

Drying & rich in oak, as it tapers off chalkiness starts to dissipate, leaving a slight smoky sweetness.  Far longer than I expected, which is a joy.

Black Rock
Black Rock

Bowmore Black Rock £44.99 for 1ltr – Bottled at 40% ABV – paired with dark chocolate enrobed coffee beans

Nose:

A touch of tar and some plimsolls in there too, vanilla sweetness with rich dark cherry and a touch of menthol with star anise and Chinese five spice.  As it opens in the glass the dark fruits really shine through, blackberries, blackcurrants and a touch of hawthorns.  That said these have a saltier edge with a touch of brine and seaweed, slight coffee and burnt toast.

Palate:

Sweeter than expected, but with far more spice!  Pepper, both black and white, is quick to make itself known, bringing bitter orange pith and dried leaves.  This is earthy and heavy with strong espresso, and lots of bitter cranberry too.

When tasted with the chocolate the coffee grind flavour and texture really come through, this then tapers off and is toned down bringing some sweetness and a deep rich toffee note.

Finish:

Long and bitter, this dram goes on and one, very oily and mouth coating, alternating between bitter and sweet, before becoming creamy and light.

Overall thoughts

A really great selection of drams, I can genuinely say that I enjoyed them all very much.  Bowmore have absolutely got these right.  They are fantastic on their own and paired with the chocolate too, although I would imagine there are several dishes that would work well with any of these drams.  Not heavy on the ABV but in all honestly none of the whiskies lose anything because of this.  The value for money is outstanding also, which is a pleasant change with most distilleries pushing their prices up and up.  My only criticism?  They are only available as travel retail..oh well time to look out my passport.

Bowmore Tweet TastingStewart’s Notes

Bowmore Gold Reef – £59.99 for 1ltr Bottled at 43% and paired with gorgeous “Hotel Chocolat” Salted Caramel Chocolates

Nose:

Boiled milk, salty caramel with a slight hint of citrus which fades into sweet fruits.  Gentle, fresh with a hint of peat floating on a windy Islay day.

Palate:

Slight spiciness on the tongue to begin with before the sweet toffee from the nose comes through.  The spice stays in the background throughout the dram and is complemented by an orangey, chocolate goodness.  The peat is hardly noticeable, which helps this dram stay gentle and fresh.

Bowmore White Sands – 17yo – £79.99 for 70cl bottled at 43%ABV

Nose:

The first thing you notice on the nose is a powerful hit of tropical fruits.  Papaya, grapefruit and mango.  The nose evolves with more character to deliver a fresh hit of After Eight Mints and boiled caramel in a pan.

Palate:

Spicy on the tongue, in fact very spicy, they dance about on your tongue before subsiding into hot toffee apples.  The tropical fruits from the nose come back in abundance, swirling around in your mouth looking for a place to stop.  When they do more toffee comes to the fore then disappears as quickly as it arrives.

Bowmore Black Rock £44.99 for 1ltr – Bottled at 40% ABV – paired with dark chocolate enrobed coffee beans

Nose:

Dark bitter chocolate flowing into the brandy on top of a Christmas pudding, raisins and dates with melted toffee.

Palate:

A hint of spice and blood oranges with an undercurrent of a freshly raked pile of leaves drying in the sun in a cold autumn’s day.  The finish is remarkably quick leaving your mouth before you even know it.  A second sip bring forward more orange notes before disappearing.

Overall thoughts

Like all good award shows, here are my results, in reverse order:  In third place – Black Rock, a decent enough dram which could do with a bit more ABV, still worth a purchase for a session dram, not the most complex you will ever try but its good value for money.  Second place – Gold Reef, a gorgeous, gentle relaxing dram, like a walk along Bowmore Pier to sit at the edge of Loch Indaal, just remember to take the Hotel Chocolat Salted Caramels with you.  The winner is White Sands – Which is just a fabulous dram, no two sips are the same, excellent tropical notes and very, very easy to drink, lovely to see an age statement at a very reasonable price.

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