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Bowmore Legend Islay Malt Whisky is a not uncommon sight on supermarket shelves. It is not infrequently sold as a special offer, and I have bought bottles in the past 18 months on offer (I think it was Sainsbury’s) at £25 for 2 bottles (definitely a bargain, then in my opinion). However, the BEST offer on it that I have seen is at the Edinburgh Makro store where, from 2 May for 2 weeks it is on offer at £54.99 + VAT for 6 bottles. This works out at £10.77 a bottle including VAT. Alternatively, 2 bottles cost £12.91 each including VAT. Thus, my business Xmas presents are sorted at a stroke early (well 12 of them anyway), and at a very economical price. Soon sold out though .....* The bottle is unusual and distinctive in that it is embossed with ‘Bowmore 1779’ and a ‘design’, and the labelling is quite attractive. But there again all Malt whiskys have attractive bottles and labels, and are at their most attractive when full (but opened and preferably lacking the closure so they must be emptied), but most of you already know my opinion on that. I will say, right from the start that there is one feature of the ‘Bowmore Legend’ label that slightly worries me. On all the other Malt Whiskies (and the true ‘De Luxe’ Blends) there is an age mentioned, but not on Bowmore Legend. Now, all Scotch Whisky must have spent not less than 3 years maturing. I am not suggesting that this Whisky is very immature (say 5 years old) but that it may come from stocks that are 8/9/10/ ? years old. It may well be a mixture of different casks, and the age given on a bottle is that of the youngest. It makes marketing easier if the age is not stated on the label doesn’t it ? Allows the company to use whatever it has available at the time of bottling. Well, .... Is it me? Why am I so cynical ? Anyway, to the taste. There is no such thing as a bad Malt Whisky, it is ju
st that some are better than others. However, in my opinion, the Bowmore Legend has a relatively poor ‘nose’, rather 'flat' and without the complex ‘promise’ that an Islay malt whisky in particular usually gives. Well, OK, there is just a trace of that ‘medicinal’ iodine ‘tang’ there but it takes a good snort of the vapour to detect it. Some people liken this iodine tang to 'tcp', which contains chlorophenolic compounds, but the Islay 'tang' is (to my palate) of a completely different character to this. The flavour is better than the ‘nose’ suggests. But again, to my taste, is rather 'flat', without the subtleties that, say, Laphroaig or Lagavulin or the other mainstay Islay malts have. The Sainsburys' and Safeway’s supermarket own brands are also superior to this (but do vary from batch to batch, possibly with different distilleries being involved). The relative lack of the characteristic iodine/medicinal flavour renders 'Bowmore Legend' almost like a Highland Malt in character, but that is only my opinion. Blind tasting to my friends usually gets the correct answer (that it is Islay), so perhaps it is my palate that is becoming 'dulled'. Another 'problem'. It is not often that I have a full bottle and a part-full bottle of the same whisky in the house. But this is one of them. I have thus opened the fresh bottle when there are still about 4 wee drams (or one Sid-sized, late night 'mull' left). There are distinct differences in the flavour !.... Not suggesting that the dregs bottle had gone off, but just definite differences in balance and character. Yes, definitely the same distillery, but perhaps they could do with a better taster/blender. With Scotch Whisky, Malt or Blended, consistency is considered essential. But don't get me
wrong. I will not damn this whisky. Perhaps the 'first 100 bottles' are the worst ! An opinion on the Cask Strength Bowmore has now been posted and should get your mouths watering in anticipation of tasting this very special experience!! And then to follow lily7star to the 10 years old .... But as I said in my first Malt Whisky opinion.... For me, it is just like being in a sweet shop !! UPDATE The first Makro 'bonanza' is safely purchased, tasted and classified. The flavour is subtly different from that which I tasted and described above, but a side-by-side tasting certainly did not allow all participants to differentiate. Still slightly dissappointing .... *I cannot be certain that this Makro offer is universal, so it is up to DooYoo Makro card holders to complain is their latest Offer Advert does not also include Bowmore Legend. My enquiries at the edinburgfh Makro suggests that offers on malts will continue for the rest of the year. What further delights/bargains ..... Strength 40%VOL Copyright Sidneygee 2001
40% Volume single malt Scotch. Light amber with gold highlights and a touch of green.