Monday, November 15, 2010

Bowmore's 10-Year-Old Arrives

I did not attend Whiskeyfest New York at the Marriot Marquis this year, but I did taste something new that nobody who was there got to try: Bowmore's Tempest Small Batch Release No. 2, a 10-year-old.

I heard rumblings of Bowmore's plans to unleash a 10-year-old single malt on the U.S. late last year. But the distillery was tight-mouthed about it. At the time, I assumed the Islay distillery was bringing out the new bottling as a recession-friendly, low-cost line extension, as many another Scotch maker has in the past couple years. But, no. Tempest is $100, costing a good deal than Bowmore's 12 YO or 15 YO. Why? Well, two releases: there are only 2,000 cases, 200 of which will reach the U.S., so it's rare; and the liquor is bottled at a cask strength of 56% alcohol. Cask strength is a thing collectors and whiskey-lovers salivate over.

Tempest is aged for a decade in first-fill Bourbon casks. It's got a warm amber color, and its palate boasts composed notes of the subtle peat, citrus, smoke and brine you expect in a Bowmore. The experience of drinking it lies somewhere between the rough and the smooth, the young and the mature; smooth because of the elegant composition of the Bowmore distillate; rough because of the alcohol strength of the liquor; young because of the relative youth of the whiskey; mature due to the manliness of the dram. Plenty to intrigue the tongue.

Tempest will be released in the U.S. in December 2010.

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