Bowmore - Canadian Launch of the New-Look New-Line
Bowmore - Canadian Launch of the "New-Look New-Line"
On Tuesday June 5, the Toronto Companions of the Quaich hosted the Canadian launch of the “New-Look New-Line” of Bowmore Single Malts. The special guest presenter was Mr. Fergus Hartley.
The tasting was held in the opulent setting of the renovated Grand Banking Hall of One King Street West in downtown Toronto. With its’ dramatic two storey high ceiling, painted with the Canadian Provincial crests, the Hall provided a stunning atmosphere for the approximately 130 Companions and guests. To warm up our taste buds, we were greeted at the door with a glass of Bowmore 12 yo.
To add to the mood, the centre piece on each table was a handsome bouquet of white and green leaf flowers held in a vase of the Bowmore tubing and goodie bags for every attendee to take home. On our table, our vase was the Bowmore 18 yo tube. After Companion President, Mr. Ed Patrick warmly welcomed everyone, he introduced Mr. Hartley who began an informative and entertaining slide show of Bowmore’s past and present. It was a slick presentation with images of beautiful Islay combined with pictures of Bowmore’s new range, bottles and packaging. Fergus described the present period as a “significant new chapter for Bowmore.” The presentation ended to David Bowies’, “Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes”.
In this order, the evening’s menu was:
Bowmore 12 yo 40%abv
Bowmore 15 yo Darkest Sherry Cask 43%abv
Bowmore 18 yo 43%abv
Bowmore 16 yo 1990 Ltd. Edition CS 55%abv
The Bowmore 15 yo Darkest (New Age Statement) has spent its first 12 years in Bourbon Casks and its’ last 3 maturing in Oloroso Casks. I had to work hard for this one. The nose was ever so slight. In contrast, the mouth feel was oily, creamy, bitter mintyness. At this point, I quite favoured the 12 yo. Taste-wise, it seemed to have more going on: citrus, big floral and billowy smoke coming through on the finish. I really liked it. When the 18 yo was introduced, Fergus announced that it was replacing the 17 yo. He didn’t explain why. The 18 yo was a mahogany beauty packing a great Sherry punch that interestingly shifted gears from sweet to a dry chalky finish. The 18 yo was a medley of vanilla, fruit, citrus, burnt sugar, toffee and smoke. There was a lot going on. One of my friends thought it had a short finish, but I thought it outran the 12 and 15 yo. The last dram of the evening was the 16 yo 1990 Ltd. Ed. This CS had to be my favourite of the evenings’ flight. Declining to add water, it had a slight alcohol burn. But, soon my palate was delighting in tastes of creamy-salty toffee, spice, and sour wood smoke. One thing that I found surprising was how cloudy the whisky looked in the glass.
I think it is important to note that I haven’t had very much experience with Bowmore and quite welcomed this opportunity. Although the evenings’ four whiskies offered something different from each other, I found that Bowmore definitely has its own signature or better yet, common denominator. Characteristically, it was something I quite admired. Consistently, there were a couple of notes that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, something like “a tweak of bitter-sourness”. In his Bowmore descriptions, Jim Murray refers to Hickory and Fishermen’s Friends cough candy…so, as an experiment, I am going to refresh my taste buds and buy a packet of the latter this weekend to compare to my tasting sensations. Also important, the whisky was being tasted in between a 3 course meal which I am sure impacted the clarity of my nosing and tasting.
At the end of the evening, as a special memento, each guest went home with a glossy black goodie bag filled with 50ml minis of Bowmore 12 yo 40%abv, 15 yo Darkest Sherry Cask 43%abv (new) & 18 yo 43%abv. And, for a very lucky few, some guests won a bottle from the evening’s flight to take home with them. For me, my table Companions allowed me to walk out with the bouquet which for this “garden-loving- whisky-gal” was perfect. Again, amidst good friends, and, fine whisky, the evening was absolutely wonderful.
For Bowmore fans, the LCBO will be releasing the evenings line-up, plus the Bowmore 25 yo and Vintages will be stocking 20 bottles of the Bowmore 37yo 1968. Sorry, I didn’t get any more details than that, but I am sure that cat will soon be out of the bag!
P.S. for those present that night, please confirm that the CS was 55%abv. Thanks.