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Bowmore Legend scores points!

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Bowmore Legend scores points!

Postby Admiral » Sat Mar 12, 2005 11:35 pm

I was at a tasting yesterday with some colleagues who meet regularly to taste, discuss, and assess malts. The standard of whisky knowledge & experience around the table is reasonably high.

In any event, our host supplied us with a "blind" whisky, i.e. we had no idea what it was.

Comments around the table ranged from good to very good, and two people even suggested it was Lagavulin 16yo. I was very quick to stake a significant and valued part of my anatomy that it was not Lagavulin. I knew it wasn't Ardbeg, and I knew it wasn't Laphroaig 10, but it was sweet & restrained enough to possibly be the Laphroaig 15yo.

You can imagine everyone's surprise when it was unmasked and revealed as Bowmore Legend!!!

I was a bit annoyed at myself for not picking Bowmore, because I knew the peat just wasn't heavy enough to be from the three Kildalton distilleries - apart from my guess that it was rich enough to be Laph15. However, I didn't think it was floral enough to be Bowmore.

Two lessons to be learned from this:

1) Legend is a vastly improved dram from what it was when it was first launched.

2) Bowmore can stand comfortably amongst its neighbours, and does not deserve the tag of being overly perfumed that people are far too quick to apply these days. When you taste a malt blind, and all your baggage and preconceived ideas are removed, it's truly amazing what happens when you actually judge a malt on its own merits!!!!

Cheers,
Admiral

Cheers,
Admiral
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Re: Bowmore Legend scores points!

Postby Spirit of Islay » Sun Mar 13, 2005 1:37 am

Admiral wrote:Two lessons to be learned from this:

1) Legend is a vastly improved dram from what it was when it was first launched.

2) Bowmore can stand comfortably amongst its neighbours, and does not deserve the tag of being overly perfumed that people are far too quick to apply these days. When you taste a malt blind, and all your baggage and preconceived ideas are removed, it's truly amazing what happens when you actually judge a malt on its own merits!!!!

Cheers,
Admiral


3 actually , 3)Don't start liking a malt when it's about to vanish off the shelves.....
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Postby andrewfenton » Sun Mar 13, 2005 3:14 am

Bowmore quality control strikes again - what's the betting the next bottle you try is undrinkable? :-)
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Postby Admiral » Sun Mar 13, 2005 6:33 am

Pretty low actually.... :) .....

My success rate with Bowmore's is about 14 from 15. The only bottle I didn't enjoy was a bottle of Darkest, purchased about 16 months ago.

Gordon.....are you insinuating something? :?: :)
(What do you know about Bowmore that we don't?)


Cheers,
Admiral.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Sun Mar 13, 2005 8:53 am

You know I'm afraid I was about to commit the classic mistake - only listening to other people's bad to horrible experiences with Bowmore whiskies! Preconceptions can obviously prematurely kill off many potential good things in life! I actually thought I didn't want to bother with that distillery but your post suggests that would be foolish. So, which one should I go for then between what's available here in Norway:
Bowmore Darkest, 12yo, 17yo or 1968! Hm...the last one is a wee bit expencive....

Skål!
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Postby Admiral » Sun Mar 13, 2005 10:59 am

I'd be wary of the Darkest....it's been very variable lately, and I'd feel terrible if you got one from a poor batch. Besides, it's heavily sherry treated, and that's not everyone's cup of tea anyway.

Go for the 12yo. It's the best balanced of the lot, and offers a little bit of everything in just the right proportions: There's malt, peat, salt, spice, sweetness, flowers, and a healthy plume of smoke!

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Tom » Sun Mar 13, 2005 11:06 am

Admiral,
it is my strong beliefs that a hole range of bottlings would get much higher ratings from everyone if they were sampled blind. And also the other way around, i think many excpencive and old malts cant stand their ground versus mid teen drams when tasted blind.
As for Bowmore i doubt you can get a hold of the overpowering floral notes in recent bottlings. I found it in much older bottlings from the 60s to 70s, and that was a completely different Bowmore. So im with you thats it doesnt has to be overly floral just because its a Bowmore. And since you doubted i finally believe you never ever tasted FWP.
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Postby Spirit of Islay » Sun Mar 13, 2005 11:08 am

i read somewhere the Legend is going to be no more . It's going to be withdrawn.
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Postby robs42 » Sun Mar 13, 2005 11:33 am

Thanks Adrmiral,

That advice has just come in the nick of time. I recently received two bottles of legend as a present. I was pretty convinced that they were going to have to continue in their role as presents, but now I'll actually open one. Guess I should never write off a whisky so quickly.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Sun Mar 13, 2005 11:51 am

Admiral wrote:I'd be wary of the Darkest....it's been very variable lately, and I'd feel terrible if you got one from a poor batch. Besides, it's heavily sherry treated, and that's not everyone's cup of tea anyway.

Go for the 12yo. It's the best balanced of the lot, and offers a little bit of everything in just the right proportions: There's malt, peat, salt, spice, sweetness, flowers, and a healthy plume of smoke!

Cheers,
Admiral

Thanks Admiral - I'll go for the twelve next time. Oh by the way, I couldn't find any of the Australian whiskies you mentioned in the "beer and whisky thread" , in the state monopoly here. Guess I'll have to look out for them at a taxfree or something!

Skål!
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Postby Lawrence » Sun Mar 13, 2005 7:43 pm

If I can find a bottle I'm going to buy it and see what it's like. It'll be an interesting exercise.

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Postby andrewfenton » Mon Mar 14, 2005 4:36 am

Ok, you've tempted me too :-) It's ultracheap here, £19 or so (and at a place I can get another 10% off too, which doesn't hurt).
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Mar 14, 2005 6:14 pm

I have three things to say about Bowmore:

1. I've never had one I liked. (Of course, I haven't had them all, either.)

2. Just because I don't like it doesn't mean you won't.

3. Just because I've never liked one doesn't mean I won't in the future...so I resolve to try one again from time to time.
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Postby Admiral » Mon Mar 14, 2005 9:28 pm

Very valid points, Mr T. So valid in fact, that I might just borrow them for a moment....with a small twist:

1. I've never had one I didn't like. (Of course, I haven't had them all either.)

2. Just because I like them doesn't mean you will.

3. Just because I've always liked them doesn't mean I will in the future...so I resolve to keep trying them all, from time to time, until I find a bad one! :D

(Although for the record, as I've posted previously, my last bottle of Darkest was a fair bit out of balance, and not the most enjoyable dram I've ever had).
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Postby Tyson » Mon Mar 14, 2005 11:10 pm

I've had the dawn, the marriner, the darkest, the 12, the 17, and the dusk, all within the last 6 months. The only one that developed a bit of a problem after opening was the dusk. Not so much a FWP as much as a sulphurous taste. Not that uncommon in sherry bottlings in my experience. Sounds like most people have had problems with the darkest, but not so much with the other bottlings.

Also, IMO the Bowmore 17 bottling is magnificent.
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Postby Tyson » Wed Mar 16, 2005 11:40 pm

Wouldn't you know it, I open my most recent Bowmore 17 bottle, and its BAD! Smells like they had a bad sherry cask in the mix, lots of sulfer and rotting organic smell. Yuck.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Mar 16, 2005 11:58 pm

Corked, maybe?
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Postby Tyson » Thu Mar 17, 2005 1:01 am

Cork is whole and intact, so I believe it was sealed just fine....

I'm going to give the Bowmore 11 in the Signatory non-chillfiltered line a try instead.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Mar 17, 2005 1:39 am

Does the cork smell all right, apart from the whisky on it? Kind of a tough task, I know, but a contaminated (not crumbled) cork is the one thing I can think of that might cause such a bad bottle. If you still have the receipt, or a good relationship with the shop, I'd say bring it back. I don't know if you were around for it, but we had a thread on bad corks a short time ago--you might search it up. Search "cork", it's about the 5th or sixth topic listed.

Edit: Actually, it's still on the Q&A page, at the moment about 29th topic down.
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Postby Tyson » Thu Mar 17, 2005 5:43 pm

Smells fine, and looks like a perfect cork. So, down the drain went the Bowmore 17, but I did pick up a Signatory non-chillfiltered Bowmore 12 to ease the pain. That turned out to be an awesome purchase, best Bowmore I've had yet, exhibiting none of the grainy hotness every OB seems to have. Just sweet malt, grassiness, oily thickness, and a lightly smoky finish.
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Postby bond » Tue Mar 22, 2005 9:17 am

Bowmore has managed more than its fair share of bad press on these forums. It continues to be on my list of bottles that I always have in stock.

Have had the 12 YO, Dusk, Mariner and Cask Strength. My favourite so far has been the cask strength. I have just picked up a 17 YO and cant wait to crack it open.

In fact I have found it to be the best introduction to islay malts. Peaty without being overwhelming. My only sore point about the malt is its rapid deterioration once open.
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Postby hpulley » Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:10 pm

Bond, that last point is a good one. Whatever the FWP phenomena is, it seems to happen with oxidation. Often a bottle is good the first night it is opened but dreadful by the last dram. So at tastings where the bottles are freshly opened, they seem alright.

Harry
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Postby karlejnar » Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:56 pm

Bond - the 17yo is really nice :P - you can look forvard to opening it.

And from your remarks I believe I can look forward to opening the CS :P

Harry - I actually experienced the opposite with my only Legend.
Purchased 2001, opened same year, emptied a little while ago.
Open 3 years - the last drams being quite peaty and not showing any unpleasant notes att all :P

On the other hand - a 12yo from the nineties, open far too long had real bad notes at last drams. My dad emptied the bottle, and from his reaction, I could tell it was very nasty indeed :(

So maybe I was being lucky with the Legend
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Postby bernstein » Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:42 am

Spirit of Islay wrote:i read somewhere the Legend is going to be no more . It's going to be withdrawn.

Sally confirmes this – at least for UK supermarkets:

http://www.whiskymag.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2489
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Postby bond » Thu Jun 16, 2005 12:52 pm

karlejnar wrote:Bond - the 17yo is really nice :P - you can look forvard to opening it.



So maybe I was being lucky with the Legend


Thanks. I did, and have revisited it a few times over the last couple of weeks. This whisky seems to have been spared the ill effects of oxidation, at least in comparison to its 12 YO sibling.

I have often been disappointed with aged malts but in this case, the effect of wood is a lot more pronounced and the malt does justice to its age (and price)
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Postby Ize » Thu Jun 16, 2005 8:28 pm

I just can't believe that all of my Bowmores 12yo, 17yo and Darkest would have been corked two years ago. Well, Darkest was drinkable, but I could easily sense FWP taste from it too. Worst FWP was in 17yo.

It will be a long time until I purchase my next Bowmore ...
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Postby Lawrence » Fri Jun 17, 2005 3:51 pm

Whatever has happened at Bowmore they certainly have done themselves a diservice. I'm glad that the 25 year old is not affected by the FWP.
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Postby Tyson » Tue Jun 21, 2005 10:15 pm

On the other hand I have a Signatory Non-Chillfiltered bottling of Bowmore which is really very good. A lot lighter color, and less sherried, the smoke mixing very nicely with a more traditional malty flavor, and a bit of grassiness.
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Postby bond » Wed Jun 22, 2005 6:38 am

I envy you Tyson. I would love to lay my hands on a Bowmore IB
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Wed Jun 22, 2005 6:49 am

It's amazing that the marketing people of Bowmore/Suntory don't understand how much a strongly communicated "no colour added and non-chillfiltered" could alter their tarnished image? Oh well, they probably sell more than enough in the various taxfree shops.

Skål!
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Re: Bowmore Legend scores points!

Postby Odradek76 » Sun Oct 19, 2014 1:13 am

I will confess that I'm quite the novice when it comes to Scotch, however, I know enough so far to have figured out that I'm rather fond of Islay single malts, but my story with Bowmore Legend is one of pretty intense disappointment.

Let me give you some perspective as far as my tastes and my general level of knowledge and experience:

I try to always have one bottle each of Laphroaig 10 and Laguvalin 16 in the house for somewhat special days (the Laphraoig 10 for say, 5:30 Friday after a long work week, and the Laguvalin 16 for say...my birthday, visits from friends who I don't see very often, a promotion at work, etc).

I also have found Ardbeg agreeable, though its smokiness and bite are a little harsher than Laphroaig. Still enjoyable, but for price and smoothness, Laphroaig is more my taste.

And for more "everyday" drinking, I usually keep something like Johnny Black, Dewar's 12, or a cheaper single malt like Glenfiddich. Usually, it's JW Black.

So one day I was in the store and saw a bottle of something I'd never tried that said it was an Islay Scotch, and it was priced comparably to a middle-shelf blend or a young/low-end Speyburn. I was intrigued and thought "How bad could it be?"

There have been bottles that were cheap and that I have been disappointed with, or grew away from as my taste refined a bit. Chivas 12 year old I found to be decent, but for around the same price or not much more, there's always Johnny Walker or Dewar's 12 year old. I used to think J&B was okay for cheap scotch, but now I'll only order it if there's absolutely nothing else for scotch (other than your Clan Macgregor and Cutty Sark varieties) and the only bourbon available is some equally nasty cheap stuff or Jack Daniels (which isn't disgusting, but it's not good, either).

Surely, no single malt scotch could give me an experience any worse than some $19.00 750ml generic blended scotch.

So I open the bottle and the first thing I notice is an unexpected element to the nose. Yes, there was "earthiness", a "coastal" aroma, and definitely peatiness. Maybe not as peaty as Laphroaig or Ardbeg, but it's in there. But there was something else sort of piggy-backing itself onto the "earthiness". I could best describe it as a cross between "swampy" and "tire fire". Almost reminiscent of rotten eggs, but in a way that's rather hard to articulate, it was missing the familiar sulphury acidic quality of the rotten egg odor. Yet it was equally unpleasant. It has an almost petroleum element to it.

In spite of all of this, I gave it a shot, and to my dismay, the same elements were present in the taste as in the aroma, and there was almost an oily quality to it on the palate. Not in the feel or the viscosity, but in the taste.

Not skunky like a Grolsch Beer. Not earthy like truffles or bitter like espresso. But some kind of unpleasant combination of skunk, bitter, and earthy. Not really that bitter, either. Just...skunky and earthy. And skunky doesn't really work, either. More like...sea monster-ish.

The picture that immediately came into my mind was of a drainage ditch full of garbage, dirty brown moss (which I realize peat moss looks like dirty brown moss) discarded shopping carts, automobile parts, various hazardous waste materials that aren't supposed to be dumped into drainage ditches, and various bottom-feeding freshwater aquatic creatures floating belly up.

I apologize for overdoing it with the description and the silly attempt at imagery. But I only do it so you understand that I think something else is going here other than that I haven't acquired a taste for the subtleties of a peaty, earthy scotch.

There's a lot of scotch I haven't tried, but I've had a decent variety, and I've never tasted anything like this. I still have this bottle after many, many months, and I've tried to dilute it with cola or soda, and the sea monster/oil spill taste is still there. I've even tried to dilute it by about four-to-one with another spirit (like Jim Beam, MacNaughton's Canadian, Evan Williams, or Jameson, because I don't feel gutsy enough to try it with better stuff and end up being wrong) and then mix it in coke. The nasty taste still comes through.

And this isn't just an aftertaste or a finish. It's there from the moment the odor hits your nostrils to a good minute or so after you've swallowed all the whisky and chased it with water or hot sauce or anything else will cover up or flush out this funky taste.

So, maybe this is something that some people think is special and sublime, but I've never tasted anything like it before in any other whisky, and I certainly didn't like it.

Has anyone else had a similar experience with Bowmore Legend or other Bowmore whiskys? Was this a fluke?
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Re: Bowmore Legend scores points!

Postby Ganga » Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:00 am

Never experienced Bowmore as an "earthy" whisky. Typically I find it to be more along the lines of wood smoke instead of peat smoke. In addition, I find it to be floral (lavender). More recent IBs show some classic grapefruit notes.

Legend, seems to be rather hit and miss. Sometimes the floral is way too dominant. Other times, it has just a little floral mixed with that roasted oak character.
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