Building up to "The Whisky Wire's" latest tweet tasting, which focuses solely on the Douglas Laing dram "Big Peat", I decided to delve into a sample from the oldest distillery on Islay.
I am, of course, talking about Bowmore and the sample I'm delving into is their "Surf" release.
Released for the European travel retail market, Bowmore Surf is a no-age-statement bottling, bottled at 40% ABV and is described as 'Bursting with warm smoke, oak and honey, balanced with a hint of zesty lime'.
Having previously tried their "Small Batch" release, which I touched upon in an earlier blog update found here, I had some idea of what to possibly expect and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
Nose - Fresh and clean. The peat is light and mineral in nature. Lemon zest, light toasted oats and some sweet malted barley. There is also a distinct perfume note that runs through the nose. If the name "Surf" was chosen to relate this dram to the freshness of the Islay surf then I think Bowmore have hit the mark with their marketing given the nose on display. In honesty a touch of water causes the scents to begin to disappear.
Palate - Mineral, almost metallic, arrival. The peat that was evident on the nose is now a light smoke. The whisky is light and barely coats the mouth while falling apart rather quickly. Not much alcoholic peppery heat and is very smooth and drinkable. What little alcohol there is fades away, with menthol, to leave a light citrus based fruit juice.
Finish - Nothing at all but a very end note of red apple.
All in all this is a lovely wee dram, even though it's obviously young with little complexity, it's extremely refreshing, easy drinking and is a perfect pour for a warm summer evening. Without doubt there is a lot to be said for Islay whiskies that aren't necessarily loaded to the gills with phenols and I highly recommend you look a bit further than your Ardbegs and Caol Ilas and see what other gems this island has up it's sleeve.
I'll be back with you all soon enough as tomorrow evening (or rather later today) I shall be partaking in the tweet tasting I alluded to at the beginning of this update. I hope you can all join in, via Twitter, as myself and the other participants work our way through 5 fantastic Islay drams. You can tune in from 7pm and follow along via the hashtag #BigPeat.
Until next time,
P.S. Huge thanks to Jamie for the sample.