A TRIP across the white sands of The Big Strand on Islay leads me straight to another Bowmore - this time a travel retail exclusive. How did I get my grubby hands on a bottle of this peaty whisky? Well, I entered a competition back in April on Twitter and won. I've never really won anything before, so it was a very pleasant surprise when the email came through. I've been happily sharing the bottle with friends and before those white sands bury this tasty 17-year-old, I thought I had better take a few notes.
First things first: this whisky is an awful colour, looking more like Irn-Bru than a fine single malt. Some whisky producers add colouring to make it more appealing for the mass market (although I don't see the point) but in this case, too much has turned it a rusty orange colour - it really does look unappealing. I have no doubt this has been chill-filtered, too, but there you go.
Talking of Irn-Bru,I can definitely smell it once a glass is poured - a scent I find in most Bowmores. Not fizzy, freshly poured stuff, but flat Irn-Bru. There's also a whole tablespoon of sweet caramel, while lemon and orange rind lie just under the gentle peat. I also pick up chocolate here - specifically chunks of mint Aero.
Take a sip and the peat becomes much more pronounced, but that Bowmore sweetness is still very much to the fore. Orange characteristics are all over this malt along with light marzipan and a little lemon and black pepper
The finish is smoky with wood and orange notes. Banana also plays across the back of the tongue and it's a decent length.
I enjoyed this offering from Bowmore, even if it doesn't have the most complex of characters and as it's travel retail only, not everyone is going to have the pleasure of trying it. It's also far too expensive, weighing in at £79.99 and, in my opinion, there are far better whiskies out there for half the price.