There is very little more exiting things in life than seeing your best friends getting married. Today is the wedding of a life-long friend and many-time whisky partner, Rich. It was Rich who bravely offered to accompany me on my first ever trip to Islay, where he insisted we should be sans-motorcar and use good old fashioned push-bikes instead. Anyone who has ever been to Islay in their "rainy season" (which runs Jan - Dec most years!) will know that, despite the drams on offer, it is preferable to use a motorcar as transport...
But what better way to spend the evening before the big day, calming any nerves in the Grooms camp than with some "nose to tail" eating at the St John restaurant, London followed by a dram from a new bottling of the first distillery we visited together on Islay, Bowmore.
Bowmore Tempest - 10 Year Old - 1st Fill Bourbon - Batch No.1 - Limited Edition - Bottled 2009 - 55.3% - 70cl
Nose: Low on peat smoke as you would expect from a Bowmore. It's not a Caol Ila or Laphroaig after all. Some honey, vanilla and oranges.
Palate: Cruchie Bar. And Honey. And what's this? Some coal smoke, a la Caol Ila... where the hell did that come from? With water: this dram really opens up with more florals and fruits coming at you.
Finish: Strong and robust with menthol. With water: much more delicate and subtle with more of that coal smoke and honey.
Overall: This is a cracking dram and for a whisky around 55% vol and 10 Year Old, pricing at ~£40 is excellent. Apparently there are only 2000 cases world wide and the fact it is first fill bourbon (my personal fav) adds some real interest value for me. Often I find younger, cheaper Bowmore struggles through their sherry casking and I can find them too sweet or the balance of light peat and sherry just a little off-putting. In the past I've always said that "The Bowmores I like, I can't afford". This has changed my opinion.
So, here's to Rich and Eve, the Happy Couple. Now to try and hide a hip flask in my Morning Suit...