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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

More Heavy Weather: Bowmore Tempest Batch IV Single Malt Whisky

Save the whiskies Harrison, not yourself!! 

What is it about whisky and weather? Yes, we understand that today's rain is tomorrow's whisky, but it seems that of late there's a few companies paying homage to the tumultuous weather. Both Talisker and Cutty Sark laid claim to the Storm moniker and this month see's the return of Bowmore's feisty Tempest, with batch IV hitting the shelves as we type.  

Tempest has always occupied a special place on the shelf for Caskstrength. Since the inaugural batch was released in 2010, we've been big fans of its bracing, visceral quality. Never compromising (well, Batch III was a little lighter in intensity) peat fans and whisky sessioners the world over have reached for a bottle of Tempest when they want to deliver the goods in front of their mates at a reasonable price.  

Continuing with the small batch outturn (still a phrase that vexes us a little, as there is no indication of what the batch size actually is) the whisky is again released as a 10 year old with a strength of 55.1%.  One thing of immediate note is the absolutely sumptuous new packaging: the blue box is terrific looking and demonstrates that Bowmore is really ratcheting up the contemporary feel for their bottlings, which has perhaps been lacking before.   

But box and bottle design aside, this has been one of those eager awaited whiskies that we're finally pleased to bring you an update on... and the good news is that it totally delivers. Tempest has always made a play on using first fill bourbon barrels in its construction and this time around, the sweetness is really in evidence, alongside that unmistakable smoke...

Bowmore Tempest - Batch IV - 10 Years Old - 55.1% 

Nose: Spirity at first, then swathes of rich toffee hit, alongside some hickory woodsmoke, menthol notes, orange zest, chocolate covered gingers, homemade vanilla ice cream, toasted pecans and butterscotch sauce. Given time (and a little water to calm down its intensity) a familiar vanilla pipe tobacco develops and a faint waft of something perfumed (parma violets perhaps?) 

Palate: A superb mouthfeel helps to prepare you for the onslaught of hot, sooty peat, a sour cherry note, then a wonderfully spicy richness, leading to an ultimate sweetness.  It has a bourbon'y vanilla note ringing clear right the way through, but a pleasant peppery bite on the side. Given a little time to unwind and the more perfumed elements that Bowmore possesses come to the fore: parma violets, freshly cut lemons, a toasted nutty note and more creamy vanilla pipe tobacco. Superb stuff. 

Finish: The sweetness lingers on the palate, with a slight sooty note claiming the bragging rights to your tongue.  

Overall: Bang- totally back on form, the current batch of Tempest is right up there with the first in terms of sheer peaty indulgence, sitting alongside a moreishness that screams late night session with your friends.

Sometimes peaty whiskies can just smash you into submission- even when you're not ready for them. Consider them the equivalent of dating a bodybuilder, all bronzed and rippling from cheek to cheek (even the ladies.) All well and good, but after you get past the fun, ever-so-sightly terrifying aspect, don't expect the conversation to get too deep over breakfast. Bowmore Tempest has its muscles flexing in all the right places, but has enough intelligence to stimulate the parts that strength alone will fail to grapple with...Sterling work folks.

Bowmore Tempest is available here for £47.95