Thanks to /u/Davyj0ne5 for this 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.
Whiskies, like cereal, and really all products, need to stick out. Even if you don’t have a marketing person working for you, acting like they understand the zeitgeist of the consumer, you’ll understand that. The average person will look at a wall of whisky, like all products, and have little to no idea what they are buying. They’ll grab at the one with the cooler picture, or maybe the one that the clerk hands them.
If you’re lucky, said clerk will be knowledgeable. If not, then said clerk will just try to sell you something that either makes them more commission or that they think looks cool.
Thus when I read the name of Bowmore 16 Woodwinters Single Cask Release, “The Four – Isla Solera” (which I moved up the “Bowmore 16” portion for easier sorting methods), I see someone who’s worked very hard on a name.
Certainly, when swapping for a sample it caught my eye. Woodwinters, it turns out, is a whisky and wine merchant in Scotland. They use numbers to denote the region, with The One being a horribly bad/good movie starring Jet Li that has nothing to do with these whiskies.
Their “The One” denotes Speyside, “The Two” being Highland, “The Three” not currently being sold and I can’t figure out with basic reviews, The Four being Islay, and The Five being single grain whiskies.
All of them are single cask, all of them at cask strength, all of them with the age, and some of them with the distillery noted. That’s all great to a whisky nerd’s ears, but how does this one taste? Let’s see, shall we?
Number of Bottles: 700
Cask Type: Sherry Cask
Colour: 7.5YR 4/8
Nose: Red liquorice, papaya, carrot, ash, coconut, raspberry
Very sweet. Even the earth has sugar in it. It’s a diabetics nightmare and this fat guy’s heaven. Tropical elements remind you it’s from an Island. Oh, what’s that? My North American view of Islands always being tropical isn’t okay for Islay? Gotcha.
Taste: Banana candy, papaya, butterscotch, mint, raspberry coulis
Dry, tropical, big fake banana flavour, and lovely mint to round it out. Again, this is sweet. Water tames it a bit with some acid like you do with the hippy you have tied up in your basement.
What? We all know you have one. A basement, that is. Everybody has a hippy prisoner. It’s a millennial thing.
Finish: Mint, plantains, mineral, bay leaf, pear brandy, cream
There is more leafy earth here, less fruity and less sweet on the finish. Not enough to be jarring or off, more so to bring you down from the dram overall.
Water brings out a pear, alcohol and cream mixture. It’s like a calmer, more restrained after dinner drink at this point.
Conclusion: Solid. It serves you a tropical sugar bomb at first, and then slowly peels back the immense sweet aspects. I would have loved some more acidity beyond what little comes out with water, and perhaps something to do with the peat, however, I think this is some of the whisky that they started making after the 90s flower power strength, so perhaps that wasn’t in the cards.
Suffice to say, this not only stands out on a shelf, it stands out as a tasty dram. It’s not really going to tickle your giggly bumpy down under parts if you’re a peat head. It’s closer to a crazy Speyside. All in all, I enjoyed it and would be happy to pick up a 500 ml bottle, even at the premium.
Scotch review #960, Islay review #258, Whisky Network review #1513