Bowmore Tempest Batch VI 10 Year Old Single Malt Review
The final Bowmore to be plucked from my whisky bunker is the 10 Year Old Tempest. This is a cask strength example of Bowmore and is bottled at a very respectable 54.9% abv allowing you to play with the addition of water to help find its sweet spot. Batch 1 of the Tempest series was released in 2009 and was universally applauded as an excellent dram from a distillery that at present is rather more miss than hit with its official bottlings.
The Tempest up for review here is Batch VI and according to the official marketing blurb on the very attractively produced box (one thing I cannot slate Bowmore for is their presentation) is the most 'tropical Tempest yet'! Bowmore even provide a flavour graph on the box to show you how it compares to the previous batches.
The Tempest is fully matured in first-fill bourbon barrels and is non-chill filtered. There is no mention on the box that it is natural colour, but judging by its colour I'm going to give Bowmore the benefit of the doubt and suggest that it is indeed all natural.
Cream soda, mango, papaya with very mellow sweet peat
The peat although initially prominent fades quickly. It is very oily, a lovely thick mouth-feel. Notes of barley, vanilla, barbecued banana, coconut shavings and marzipan.
Long and warming. The renowned Islay peat reek still makes itself felt although very subdued. There is a certain amount of chilli pepper heat but tempered by the tropical fruit notes with just a dash of coastal saltiness.
One word: Redemption. This is a Bowmore I would buy again and again. It is elegant and complex and rewards you with a whole slew of aromas and flavours. Adding water just opens up the tropical fruit notes even more while subduing the peat but not killing it. Personally I find this only needs a few drops of water for my palate even though it is strong at 54.9% abv.
I just do not understand how the other official bottlings at Bowmore do not live up to this expression. Essentially the Small Batch should be a 'baby' Tempest and yet the two are poles apart, so much so you would think the Small Batch is made by a different distillery. My advice, avoid the other core expressions and just buy the Tempest. At £55 it represents really good value for money when compared to the other core expressions in the Bowmore range and I can assure you that this one will not disappoint!