In the mean time, it has been a while since we have done an Islay whisky. This month – the Bowmore 12yo.
Bowmore is the capital in the geographical centre of Islay and this month’s selection is in the middle ground of whisky styles, being not too peaty and not too sweet. The Bowmore Distillery was established in 1779 by David Simson and is one of the few distilleries to still malt its own barley on site. The peat used to dry the barley comes from sandy bogs which are not as concentrated as the peat from other Islay distilleries. The peat is crumbled to give lots of smoke, but the malt is only peated for a short time than the heavier southern Islay distilleries of Ardbeg, Laphroiag and Lagavulin. The peat flavor comes from both the malting but also the water used from the River Laggan. This river is fed from natural springs that trickle over the peat beds before accumulating into the Laggan. Bowmore 12 YO is only peated to 20 ppm compared to 40+ for the others.
At the water’s edge of Loch Indaal, westerly winds and angry seas buffet the walls of the distillery imparting a fresh seaside aroma into the spirit while it lays in combinations of bourbon barrels and sherry butts. The use of Bourbon barrels impart vanilla and caramel and combines delightfully with the sherry butt flavours of stewed fruit and Christmas cake. After 12 years maturation, the Bowmore 12yo is ready to be bottled and enjoyed.