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Bowmore & FWP - some definitive research

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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Oct 19, 2005 6:07 pm

I did, and I'm not, but I agree. Whether or not it exists, I believe the FWP thing is an overblown myth. I just don't like the stuff, and suspect that lots of folks are put off by the floral character and write it off as FWP. A characteristic that you don't like, whether it's florality or rubberiness or soapiness, is not a taint; it's just something you don't like. And I don't. But I won't slag it, and agree that it's unfortunate that a respected distillery's reputation has been stained by what is essentially gossip.

I'm not saying that FWP doesn't exist, or never existed. Just that, at the very least, a hell of a lot more people have heard of it than have experienced it.
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Postby hpulley » Wed Oct 19, 2005 6:09 pm

The whole point is, it never was floral before! And yet they claim nothing has changed. Either they changed the flavor profile on purpose or it happened on its own but it has happened. If you tasted a good Bowmore I daresay you'd like it, and would find it to be lacking in violet aromas.

Harry
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Oct 19, 2005 6:17 pm

Actually, I like floral whiskies and I find it really offensive to hear floral flavours described as FWP - which is a nasty term on many levels. I find Bowmore herby rather than floral, but I wouldn't see floral or violets as being a bad thing.

Whiskies do change over time. For example, I had the shock of my life when I had a session on Oban the other day. Gone was the saopy smokiness and in were the fresh pears. Quite incredible. Somemay resent the change but others (like me) are very impressed.

Of course it is a shame when a flavour profile you like disappears - in my case, Laphroaig has become diappointing. But as Tattie says, it is wrong to describe a change or a flavour you don't like as a taint.
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Postby hpulley » Wed Oct 19, 2005 6:20 pm

The term is nasty, sorry about that. I didn't invent it and really try not to use it, as it isn't even terribly descriptive.

The nastiest Bowmores I've had were very herbal, to the point of resembling Zwack Unicum Bitters if you've ever had it.

I like Glen Garioch, which has some violet tones but they weren't in the Bowmores I liked and there isn't any nasty herbal bitterness in Gariochs I've had. Some conspiracy theorists say the bottling plant accidentally vatted some Bowmore and Glen Garioch but I don't believe it.

Harry
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Postby Lawrence » Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:50 pm

It's true that many people are mistaking some of Bowmore's floral notes for FWP but this is simply a distraction from the main issue.

To those of us that have experienced FWP first hand will never forget it and it is very disconcerting to say the least. Light floral notes are not generally off putting but a heavy soapy "toilet block*" taste is simply not acceptable.

As a completely seperate issue (I hope) is the 'recent' floral nature of Bowmore and Harry is perfectly correct, it simply did not used to be like that and as customers we are expressing our disappointment.

The difference between the current 25 year old (which has no floral notes) and the rest of the line up is quite dramatic.

A glimmer of hope is the new limited edition 16 year old with the brown paper label. It was like Bowmore of old and I hope the rest of the OB line up follows suit.


* I did not coin this phrase but it's a good one.
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Postby hpulley » Mon Dec 05, 2005 3:45 pm

Eating my hat on this one I tried an '82 22yo Bowmore bottled by Duncan Taylor and it had strong floral, herbal and even minty tones in it. So obviously it is not due to some strange bottling problem or some recently overused distillery casks. Looks like it might be distillery character after all. Guess I just don't like Bowmores with that character, though I swear some bottlings don't show it off like that (could just be me finally picking up on it).

Harry
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Postby Tom » Mon Dec 05, 2005 10:30 pm

Agree with all the points here previously added by Harry and Lawrence, but you knew that already.

BUT must add that 2 or 3 weeks ago I sampled another Bowmore 12 OB that was fantastic, no soap, no perfume, no nothing but perfect balance, gristy dry peat and sweet malt, not even floral actually, just great. First OB EVER with no soap, cant wait to taste the 16 and it looks things are clearing up :lol:

Harry, I came to the exact same conclusion like you and must stay there as last week I sampled another 17Y old. No soap, but still way too sweet, with candy/floral sickening tones and a menthol finish. Two out of 3 people that tasted this liked it. leaving me to believe this is just Bowmore.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Dec 06, 2005 1:37 am

If you previously experienced soapiness in Bowmore, was it immediately on opening, and did it fade after a while? I've noticed this in a couple of Bruichladdichs.
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Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:00 am

Tom wrote:Agree with all the points here previously added by Harry and Lawrence, but you knew that already.

Harry, I came to the exact same conclusion like you and must stay there as last week I sampled another 17Y old. No soap, but still way too sweet, with candy/floral sickening tones and a menthol finish. Two out of 3 people that tasted this liked it. leaving me to believe this is just Bowmore.


I didn't mind the sweetness of the Bowmore 17 at all. The smoothness and unique flavor-profile did it for me.
When ever i was out, at a bar offering any Bowmore, i would ask to see the bottle and if it were less than half full i would order a dram and explain to the barkeep that i thought it was better off with oxidation. Some of the best tasting drams of Bowmore OBs were poured from a mere heel.
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Postby Blowmore » Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:57 am

FWP don't exist? Do yous believe Dave Broom?

http://www.maltmadness.com/mm16.html#16-01
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Postby kallaskander » Wed Dec 14, 2005 8:48 am

Hi there,

I did like the Bowmores from the start way back when. In recent times I have not tasted newer OBs so I did not really encounter the FWP phenomenon.
I tried the 16 years OB non chill-filtered straight from the cask bottled especially for Germany a few days ago. WOW! I did not find any FWP but only a superb balance of fruit and mild peat, no soap whatsoever, again a wonderful balance of sweetness and a touch of smokiness. It is less sherried than the usual Bowmore OB, the colour is that of polished brass. It is just its natural colour and caramel free. The strength is 51.8%. There were lighter more floral notes beside the fruitiness but no lavender or lillies. It also showed toffee and marzipanlike flavours. The finish is long and fruity sweet with a good matched peatiness woven through that fruity sweetness. It is smooth elegant and rather light. I´d say it is an Islay that just touches the realm of peatiness and rides and skims the waves instead of being in real contact. I really like that style. A pitty it is a limited edition and a bit too expensive for a 16 year old.
It very much reminded me of the first Bowmore Surf I had in 1992. A Surf from around 2000 I had at my friends place I did not really like, it had changed to a kind of harshness. But again it had no soap or FWP.

Greetings
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Postby Tyson » Mon Dec 19, 2005 8:09 am

Had a Bowmore 12 OB yesterday and it was very good, no trace of soap or perfume, just smoke, dry tobacco, dry malt. Very good and a nice return to form.
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Postby wilsona » Mon Dec 19, 2005 1:19 pm

I've a bottle of Bowmore 12, and, though I don't get any flowery perfume, soapy is an apt description. It's a little unpleasant.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Dec 19, 2005 11:00 pm

How long has it been open, wilson? I'm curious because I've had soapy whiskies which seemed to smooth out a while after opening.
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Postby wilsona » Tue Dec 20, 2005 12:46 am

I don't recall, exactly. A month? I've noticed the soapiness more and more, but that can probably be attributed to me learning how to better experience my whisky. The Bowmore is only the third bottle I bought.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Dec 20, 2005 3:30 am

If it was going to fade, it would have faded by now, I think.
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Postby WhiskyHill » Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:47 am

Let me put in my two cents worth...

I'm a PLOWED ringleader, and have drammed numerous times with originator of the renowned "FWP" letter to Bowmore, Brother Bushido.

I HAVE experienced FWP from several bottles and it DOES exist, whether you've come across it or not. Believe me, once you have tasted FWP, you will know it. That sickly sweet odor and taste is unmistakeable.

My first bottle of "Darkest" was so heavily tainted that I gave it away; it was undrinkable in my opinion. I gave it away at the first Ardbeggeddon in January 2000, so that bottle must have been purchased in 1998 or 1999. I also encountered it in "Legend" and cask strength bottlings. I really love the 17 year old myself, but after a distillery tour in September 2000, my companions and I were poured drams of the 17 in the parlor by Christine Logan that had FWP notes!

This problem is in bottlings from distillations from the 1982/1983 time frame. I think Bowmore was spreading it around their different bottlings trying to get rid of the bad batch, and it had worked it's way into the 17 by 2000. I haven't purchased very many OB Bowmores since (except for real classics like the 1969 25 year old, the 1968 and the 30 year old Sea Dragon), preferring to stock up on the 1966-69 Duncan Taylor Rare Auld and Peerless bottlings, every one of which I've tried so far are Killer.

Don't get me wrong - Bowmore is in my top 5 of favorite distilleries (at least their older 1960's distillations) so I'm not bad mouthing the distillery, but they should have dumped those bad FWP casks rather than bottling crap.
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Postby hpulley » Fri Jan 13, 2006 12:46 pm

WhiskyHill wrote:This problem is in bottlings from distillations from the 1982/1983 time frame.


That's a very interesting observation! The 1982 Duncan Taylor Bowmore I tried recently was VERY herbal and floral, even minty, and I thought "Oh no, it's not just OBs it's IB Bowmores too." Very, very interesting.

Harry
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Postby WhiskyHill » Fri Jan 13, 2006 2:32 pm

Yes, it can be found in Independant Bottlings too. PLOWED tried a couple of cask samples from Douglas Laing and both had traces of FWP. My advice is stay away from any of the early 1980's distillations.
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Postby Frodo » Sat Jan 14, 2006 9:05 am

hpulley wrote:That's a very interesting observation! The 1982 Duncan Taylor Bowmore I tried recently was VERY herbal and floral, even minty, and I thought "Oh no, it's not just OBs it's IB Bowmores too." Very, very interesting.

Harry


Nothing wrong with this stuff. Send it my way!!!!
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Postby hpulley » Sat Jan 14, 2006 12:54 pm

I'm sure you can still order a case if you want to, Frodo!

Just goes to show how different people like different things. I was the odd man out at that tasting, the others liked it or at the very least were intrigued by it.

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Postby peergynt323 » Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:31 am

I've never tasted FWP and I don't even know what it stands for. All I know is that the first Bowmore I tried was a 17 year old, and I loved it. I tried my dad's 17 year old and it tasted different--not terrible, but different and not as good. Then I had a bottle of Bowmore Darkest and I liked it at first but eventually had to serve it to friends, because I just preferred my original 17 yo. I don't know, it had more of that roasted peat flavor like Finlaggan instead of the smooth creamy peat flavor of better Islays. Then I bought my dad (huge Bowmore fan) a bottle of Dusk, and I think it's an awesome, delicious bottling and I'm always enthusiastic about pouring myself a dram when I visit.

I am going to take the several maniacs' advice and assume that a great deal of FWP sightings/tastings are imaginary. I urge you to do a blind taste test to prove it to yourself.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Nov 21, 2006 3:39 am

Shhhh! No one's mentioned the Dread Imaginary Affliction (DIA) in quite some time. For a while you couldn't say "Bowmore" around here without DIA being invoked. Every TD&H who didn't care for Bowmore said it must be DIA, when in fact they simply didn't care for Bowmore. It apparently was real, but rare, and from what I've read, if you tasted it, you'd know it! Let us leave SDL (Sleeping Dogs Lie).
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Postby Aidan » Tue Nov 21, 2006 8:35 am

I was talking to someone from the distillery. They believe that this is just something that had snowballed because of a suggestion from someone. They tasted samples they have from years and years back, and did not detect a significant difference in this regard.

Anyway, that's their story. I think Bowmore is a great distillery, although I don't like all their whisky. When it's good, though, it's the best.
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Postby hpulley » Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:07 am

Since the dog is up...

The distillery workers are right that its not a recent phenomenon. I've found the taste I dislike (notice the personal pronoun) in independent bottlings distilled over 25 years ago. This means it is nothing wrong with their bottling line (rumours of mixes with Glen Garioch and Auchentoshan may be laid to rest), nothing funny in their warehouse, etc. I must now be able to detect it or now dislike it while I wasn't able to notice it years ago or I liked it as Bowmore 12 was my favorite malt for years. In tastings with friends, others love the taste that I dislike so it isn't that they are unable to detect it, they like it and I do not; all of us can 'see' it. It is the taste of Bowmore, take it or leave it. Don't feel bad if I dislike it but you love it. It's not you, it's me.

Harry
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Postby Frodo » Tue Nov 21, 2006 7:07 pm

Aidan wrote:I think Bowmore is a great distillery, although I don't like all their whisky. When it's good, though, it's the best.


I agree 100% with this!
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Nov 22, 2006 6:36 am

hpulley wrote:It's not you, it's me.


Oh, I hate that.
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Postby Lawrence » Wed Nov 22, 2006 7:31 am

I agree, it's you Mr. T.

You seem to be coping with this affliction very well, good chap!
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Postby Lawrence » Wed Nov 22, 2006 7:37 am

It never ceases to amaze that those who have never encountered FWP are so quick to dismiss it. I too like Bowmore and the sooner this business is done the better. But FWP is real and it's not pleasant. The distillery attacked a number of people on this issue and made the whole situation worse, imagine attacking your own customers when they ask a question?? It's mind boggeling.

I suggest everybody re-read Dave Broom's article on the subject as posted on Malt Madness, it' very informative.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Nov 22, 2006 7:53 am

Lawrence, I don't dismiss FWP. I dismiss 95% of the reports of it. It has absolutely taken on the aura of urban myth.
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Postby Aidan » Wed Nov 22, 2006 8:45 am

Frodo wrote:
Aidan wrote:I think Bowmore is a great distillery, although I don't like all their whisky. When it's good, though, it's the best.


I agree 100% with this!


Maybe this is the variability people were looking for in another thread a while ago. it may be hit and miss, but the hits are great.
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Postby hpulley » Wed Nov 22, 2006 7:13 pm

My miss ratio was high enough to stop buying them, unfortunately...

Harry
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:39 pm

After reading the latest WM Fourm poll, I searched and now know just what FWP is.

Well done Admiral for an excellent piece of research and some very useful information once again.
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Postby Aidan » Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:13 pm

MrTattieHeid wrote:Lawrence, I don't dismiss FWP. I dismiss 95% of the reports of it. It has absolutely taken on the aura of urban myth.


These are my feelings too.
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