Thanks to /u/Catharticintent for the sample.
Turns out I had quite a few samples of Bowmore. My stores are now so full I can’t fit any Bow-More of them. Thus that’s what I’m calling this string of reviews.
French Whore Perfume. A term that frankly I’m pretty sure I’m disgusted by using myself, yet one that pops up when one discusses Bowmore.
So first off why does this exist? Well during the 1990s, a crazy time filled with already fascinating things like grunge and the fall of Western Civilization, Bowmores bottled during this time had strong alcohol and floral notes.
But what does that have to do with the French? From what I’ve seen, there are a few origins. The French seem to have had an open view on sexuality, and thus their prostitutes were more common in Europe. They may have been the elite prostitutes of the time due to this stereotype.
Not to mention that France has been the world leader in perfume for quite some time. So perhaps their prostitutes were early adopters, and the rest of Europe, fearing water and not having this perfume to help them, found the ladies and gentleman of the night from gay Paris to be quite shockingly pungent. Also, the general public used perfume to cover up the smell of gloves, which had been bathed in urine as part of the tanning process.
Add to that the belief that the French skipped personal hygiene more than others (due to a fear that water carried disease, which given the time, it did) and the need for someone to cover up undesirable odours (especially if you’re stock and trade is getting close to people), and you have the idea of layering tons and tons of perfume on a woman.
Finally, we have the type of perfume that has historically been in vogue in France: Animalistic, strong scents. And voila, we have the term.
Should it be used still? I’d debate that no, it shouldn’t because it’s since gone away. France isn’t the water disease-carrying place it once was, and frankly, prostitutes travel the world more now, so keeping anyone trait based on where they are hired isn’t the standardized process that it once was.
That all said, Bowmore SMWS 3.291 “Tickle your fancy” is quite the 90s floral heavy Bowmore. So let’s get down to the review, shall we?
Price: Sold out
Date Distilled: 05.04.1996
Age: 20 years old
Cask Type: Refill ex-bourbon hogshead
Colour: 7.5YR 4/8
Nose: Tea, lavender, strawberry jam, sawdust, perfume
Initial mixture of tannic and floral elements. Eventually, that opens up into a very fruity, sweet dram, with the tannins going woody like it’s Toy Story.
Water brings out that strong perfume. Or rather it melds it all together into that strong, strong perfume aspect.
Taste: Orange liqueur, caramel, grass, peanut, woody, light melon
Here we have more of an acidic, hot dram, like some of your exes. Those guys need to calm down. See, I turned that one around on you.
Caramel, grass, some peanut. The ex-bourbon has taken over a lot here. Somewhat disjoint, the wood aspects tie it back to the nose. Water doesn’t bring out the perfume as much, though it’s still hot.
Finish: Floral, plum, cinnamon bread, Smarties, raisin
Back to a floral heavy dram, water is your friend on the finish, taking more sugars out of the dram, adding back some caramel/Autumn baking joints. Again, like your exes.
What, you like dudes who look good in Autumn colours, own it. We all have our preferences.
Conclusion: Hot and floral. Very floral on the nose and finish, very hot on the taste. Overall it’s an unrefined dram with delusions of something I can’t quite figure out. A want to be all over the place or more complex than it really is, when you break this down most people will just yell the aforementioned “FWP” loudly and constantly.
That all said, there’s nearly something in the finish. A caramel, spice and raisin finish. This is an ex-bourbon whisky that took the overtly floral aspects and tried to make them ex-sherry. Which I guess if I was attempting to tie to some aspect of being yourself in these trying times, I’d say was courageous, however, it’s an inanimate object and really I’ve already said enough to anger people in this review.
Suffice to say that this is an interesting view into the decade of heavy floral Bowmores, though more time will be needed to make it more than the stereotype.
Scotch review #959, Islay review #257, Whisky Network review #1512
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