An 18 year old expression bottles at 43%volume. Andrew Rankin, Bowmore's Production Director, specifies a mix of cask types for each bottling of his single malts, including the Bowmore 18YO. The casks are matured in the distillery’s No.1 Vaults, built in the late 1700s and the oldest maturation warehouse in Scotland. It is also the only warehouse below sea level – dark and damp, and the thick stone walls seep salt water. So when you taste this splendid malt, think of where it spent the last eighteen years. There is no substitute for time in the right casks under the right conditions!
Polished beech in colour, the aroma seems to match this: polished wood to the fore, with gentle smoke behind. In between are scents of dry seaweed and canvas, hemp ropes and lanolin, then caramel rises to dominate. The taste is a surprise after the mellow aroma: big, sweet, salty and smoky at full strength; more floral, less salty and smoky at reduced strength. Both with some spice in the finish.