Bowmore 12 year old Single Malt review

They say you should never return to the scene of a crime....especially if you are the perpetrator. Yet criminals returning to the scene of the crime is a common plot device in many crime dramas. Well the same could be said of whisky.....if it's horrific, a crime in a glass.....don't go back.

The problem is that we are curious beasts by nature. There's always a 'what if?' in the back of our minds. 'What if'.....Jura suddenly became decent? 'What if'.....Bushmills would release their whiskey at 46%? 'What if' day we all find out that Whisky Rover was a closet Irish whiskey drinker all along and his favourite drop was none other than Proper Twelve?

One particular brand that has committed a few whisky assault crimes on my taste buds has been Bowmore. With the exception of the Tempest 10 year old the expressions that I have tried from the core range have been horrendous migrating to middling. As such I haven't bought any Bowmore until very recently.

You see that dreaded 'What if?' moment struck me once again whilst in my local Sainsburys. On offer was the flagship expression of Bowmore....the 12 year old. Situated just above the NAS No.1 Vaults expression the 12 year old was the gateway dram for many into the murky world of Bowmore.

So after a few rather painful experiences with Bowmore my curiosity just got the better of me. 'What if'....Bowmore hand finally managed to steer the core range off the rocks of mediocrity and into calmer, more palatable waters. 

This bottle cost was on offer for £27 and I had £25 worth of nectar points so I figured for a £2 outlay what was there to lose?

Bottled at 40% abv, chill filtered and liberally sprinkled with e150 lets see how the 12 year old delivers!




Some tropical fruit here - grilled pineapple, melon and a little poached pear with ginger and nutmeg. Sweet malt and honey. A light salinity and a wisp of peat smoke.


As to be expected at this abv there is a serious lack of body here...pretty watery stuff. Fairly honied on arrival, hot toddy spices of clove and cinnamon with some salted lemon rinds and a gentle peat smoke.


Short, slightly ashy with warming spice.


Not a car crash like the Black Rock and thankfully missing the burnt plastic notes of the Small Batch there is still little here to really recommend. There is a very limited flavour profile that doesn't develop at all. Would I buy it again? No....not at the normal price of £35 nor even when on offer. I'm also gutted that I wasted my nectar points.

If an Islay dram is what you are after there are much better options out there for similar money such as Bunnahabhain 12 or Caol Ila 12. Or why not consider the Benromach 10 year old, Longrow Peated or Talisker 10.

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  1. Agreed. Shoddy presentation and far too expensive. Begs the question...who's actually buying this because they like it?
    Great review as always Phil.
    (The Whiskey Novice)


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