I think I have mentioned this before but while I love islay whiskies and indeed the island there is one distillery which I have always struggled to connect with. Bowmore has for me always clashed with my palate for some reason. There is a strong brine-y aspect to the underlying spirit which is perhaps too much for me but also a lot of the releases have been fairly poorly constructed with poorly insipid results to boot.
In the coming months I hope to try and seek out some interesting bottles which are official releases that do the distillery staff proud. Having visited the distillery and stayed in the cottages owned by the distillery I know the people care greatly for their product and that should be represented as best as possible in finished bottles.
Previously available for Travel Retail before batch 4 becoming weirdly a “The Whisky Shop” exclusive release. I obviously don’t know the business details on that but it is quite an unusual thing for a once widely available bottle to move to one retailer. This 15 year old whisky is finished in first fill sherry casks and bottled at cask strength. The price was around £80 when it was available last year and bottled can now go for nearly £200 online. The obvious comparison to make is that this bottle is a cask strength version of the 15 Darkest which was also available at the time. I have now tried both so I will discuss how they compare at the end.
For those that enjoy a marketing story you might be working for Laimrig means. Well, its Gaelic for pier and you know Bowmore has one of those so yeh clearly a good idea for a whisky name.
Colour – chestnut
Nose – touch of brine but a sharp sweet sherried note from first fill Oloroso I suspect. The nose just feels so thick and viscous and billows sherry and freshly dug soil.
Palate – The mouthfeel is quite thin so a disappointing start but it gives out tobacco aniseed and crystallised ginger.
Finish – The finish isn’t too long but is steeped in dried fruits and some brined peat ash which is the signature Bowmore spirit.
The first fill finishing has added much needed interest and pairs with the peat spirit nicely. This is a great little whisky and if you can find it under £100 then I would snap it up.
In comparison to the 15 darkest which has itself now been replaced this is a far better whisky. Partly, because 43% is too low and partly because I suspect cheaper casks went into that recipe than this smaller batch run. There is definitely far more cask influence in the Lamraig than the darkest.