Thursday, June 6, 2013

New release - Bowmore Tempest Batch #4

The Islay distillery of Bowmore has launched the latest batch in its superb Tempest series. The series consists of small batch and cask strength single malts which are released annually. Batch #4 was released worldwide at the end of April and follows on from the previous three batches, which have raked in the awards. This batch has been matured in ex-bourbon casks for 10 years and is bottled at the natural cask strength of 55.1% ABV.  There are 12,000 bottles available and the retail price should be around the £50 mark.

The Bowmore distillery is located on the famous whisky making island of Islay, which lies off the west coast of Scotland. It is the oldest distillery on the island and one of the oldest in all of Scotland, having been founded in 1779 by John Simpson. Bowmore is currently owned by Morrison Bowmore who have been in control since 1963. They are a subsidiary of the larger Suntory drinks company from Japan who acquired Morrison Bowmore in 1989. The annual production of the distillery is two million litres and the core range is extensive, making Bowmore one of the biggest selling single malts in the smoky/peaty style.

Our tasting notes
The colour is a pale golden yellow and the nose has an immediate feisty nature to it. The smoke hits first - this combines a bonfire with chimney soot and has a peppery edge that catches in the nose.  Once this settles numerous other aromas begin to come through, in particular butterscotch, fresh honeycomb, vanilla custard and a distinct zesty lemon note.

On the palate, the whisky feels lovely with a hot, slightly sooty and ashy edge.  While the peat smoke is prominent, it is not overpowering and soon lets other sweeter notes through.  There is plenty of vanilla and honey, which are backed up by some expressive drying wood spices - think of freshly sawn oak, cinnamon and a hint of clove.  Further sweetness is added by a hint of brown sugar and a slightly floral note, which is reminiscent of honeysuckle or something similar.  All of the above combine superbly with additional notes of tangy fresh lemon zest, custard powder and a pinch of salt.

The finish is long and equally as expressive as the nose and palate.  The ashy peat smoke is the constant factor and slowly fades away to leave a drying but pleasant feeling.  There is a good sweetness to begin with, which has notes of malted barley and vanilla in particular, and these are followed by the tangy lemon and warming woody spice characteristics.

What's the verdict?
The Tempest Batch #4 is another superb offering from Bowmore and one that confirms the quality of the series - simply put, it is becoming one of the best limited edition series around and any distillery looking to release a similar product should look no further than what Morrison Bowmore are doing with Tempest.

The Batch #4 combines expressive smokiness with tangy citrus, sweetness and drying spice.  It is a must buy for anyone that likes their smoky whiskies, and not too badly priced at that.  It also gave us an idea to dig out our samples of the first three batches and compare all four expressions side by side - watch this space for the results of that in the near future ...

1 comment:

Tom Lupo said...

Managed to get batches 2,3, and 4 now. Great release from one of my favorite distilleries.

Great site BTW. Been on my daily routine for months now.