Bowmore Small Batch Review

Bowmore Small Batch Bourbon Cask Matured Single Malt Whisky

My favourite Islay with a bourbon twist…

When I saw my go to Islay single malt, Bowmore, released a small batch, bourbon cask matured version I just had to hunt it down. This Small Batch is intended to replace Bowmore’s current entry level single malt, “Legends” and is a blend of first fill [59.8% ABV] and second fill [60.2% ABV] whiskies that are aged between 6 and 8 years. According to the Bowmore Distillery:

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.

My tasting notes:

Nose: The traditional Bowmore peaty-ness, though not as pronounced, salt sprayed sea air, some vanilla and pear notes, with a touch of spices like cinnamon and allspice.

Taste: The smoke and salt you would expect from an Islay single malt, but you certainly get the vanilla and oak bourbon notes, again a bit of pear and a citrus more akin to finger limes.

Finish: The usual Islay peat smoke fades out and goes to a more oak and even burnt cedar, the vanilla from the bourbon stays and is accompanied again by lime citrus and even a slightly bitter pine or evergreen needle taste.

While this won’t replace Bowmore’s 15 Darkest as my favourite from the Islay distillery, their Small Batch Bourbon Cask release holds a special place in my heart. It rounds out the heavy peat with the delicious vanilla and oak of bourbon, has a lovely dry, bitter, & almost acrid palate finish that leaves me thirsting for my next sip.

This is definitely a worthy replacement to their Legend’s line and I’m likely a little biased due to the bourbon provenance. I would definitely recommend this as a great all night dram, coupled with some great conversation, consider it a great gift idea for the Islay scotch lover in your life this holiday season.


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