It has been two years since I made my first and so far only visit to Islay. Just after the great Campbeltown Malts festival and we spontaneously decided to go for another day at Feis Ile. It was quite a rainy day, but that didn’t spoil the fun. Because I finally made it to Islay!

I remember, we accidentally discovered that the Bowmore Feis Ile edition of that year (2019) could still be bought at the end of the day, while that morning people had been queuing very early. A nice surprise and also the end of a beautiful day on Islay. God, I miss those type of whisky festivals, my trips to Scotland, and the people! The people and the ‘gezelligheid’… Perhaps that most of all.

But enough of all this, because I’m sure I’m not the only one who misses this. So let’s talk about the whisky that I’ll be reviewing today. And that happens to be this Bowmore 18 year old, which was supposed to be released before Feis Ile 2020. However, this did not happen, so it has now been released during the online 2021 edition. Fully matured in 1st fill Oloroso sherry casks and bottled at a strength of 51.2% ABV.

Bowmore 18 year old tasting notes:

Nose: a touch of bonfire smoke at first. Followed by blackberries, blueberries and prunes. It’s slightly sulphury, but nothing too bad. Raisins. Leather. Earl Grey tea. A hint of seaweed and it’s also slightly briny. Honey. Cigar leaves. Dark chocolate and cinnamon too.

Taste: smokier than the nose suggests. A nice oily moutheel. Raisins and dates. A hint of the berries again. Seaweed and brine. Dark chocolate and leather. Slightly spicy towards the finish: chilli peppers, nutmeg and a touch of cinnamon.

Finish: long with bonfire smoke, brine, dark chocolate, leather, a touch of oak and the same spices. Mint as well.

Oh my goodness. This is very good though. There is a lot to find in here, but it’s all very well balanced. A lot is happening. It’s a true journey of discovery and I keep smelling and tasting it. Super interesting and also just really tasty.