Many years ago on board a 40 year old bay cruiser named “Rum Time” a very old friend asked me if I wanted a whisky.  i promptly replied, that I didn’t like Scotch.  It was something my parents drank, drowned in Dry Ginger Ale.  Their preference was the cheapest blend available, with no preference or loyalty.  They all taste the same.

My friend explained that this wasn’t ‘Scotch’, it was single malt whisky.  Not to be drunk with anything, ‘cept a bit of water, or ice as is your preference. The old friend who introduced me to single malt was Brad, and that trip was the seed of  The whisky was Bowmore Legend. Since then Bowmore has held a special place in both our hearts for both the wonderful whisky in itself, and as a sentimental drink that takes us both back to younger days.   This month we’ll be tasting another Bowmore – the ‘Gold Reef’.

The Bowmore distillery is built by the seaside on the island of Islay, and Gold Reef is the name of the reef in front of the distillery.  The seaside flavour is characteristic of Bowmore.  It is described as a salty, iodine taste.  These flavours come about because the barley is malted in the distillery (one of the last distilleries to malt their own barley), and the barrels are stored and aged by the seaside.

The Bowmore Gold Reef is a new expression fro the distillery.  it is usually only sold in duty free, but we have been luck enough to get some for our members, which is why it is in a 1 litre bottle.  So much the better, eh?

Bowmore Gold Reef is aged in predominately first fill American Oak bourbon barrels, with some Sherry barrels.  Barrels are used many times to age whisky, but their efficacy is diminished with each fill.  So the first fill barrels impart the most flavour.

The mouth is immediately filled with rich vanilla and caramel, along with more delicate peach and apricot.  The whisky is dry, with loads of rich fruity flavours and has the characteristic salty spray and iodine character to finish. Iodine tastes like Betadine, if you have ever had to gargle that for a cold you will recognise it immediately, except that in the Bowmore it is wrapped in all these other wonderful flavours that compliment it so well, that it is delightful!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Bottle Size : 700ml
ABV : 45% abv
Region : Scotland – Islay
Peated : No

Further out to sea and deep beneath the waves lies Gold Reef. Named for the way the glow of the sun’s rays reflect off the coral seabed, this same old catches the eye inside every bottle of Bowmore Gold Reef.  Predominately matured in 1st fill ex-bourbon casks, it rewards with notes of smooth vanilla, citrus fruits and sea salt.

Colour: Rich amber. Striking.
Nose: vanilla, coconut milk, delicious baked peach, oranges and lemons n.
Palate: tangy peat, pineapple, juicy mango and kiwi fruit tempered by sea salt and olive oil
Finish: the long, honeyed, zesty finish

Bowmore Gold Reef