Travel retail whiskies are typically overpriced and come with fancy packaging as well as obscure marketing lingo. Never mind the non-age statement, the whiskies are just not good!
Unjustified sweeping statements? For sure, as there are indeed gems at the airport. But more often than, perceptions are very difficult to change. Which is why it is very refreshing to see Bowmore taking a different approach by launching new range of whiskies exclusive to travel retail.
These expressions seem to have all the boxes ticked. They have age statements, a very clear marketing message and they offer great value-for-money. They taste great, too.
An Introductory Dram
First up, the Bowmore 10 Year Old, bottled at 40% ABV. This comes in a 1-litre bottle. It’s described as ‘dark and intense’ on its label, but in our opinion, it’s more of ‘easy-to-drink, gently peated and sweet’. The maturation was done in Spanish Oak sherry casks and hogsheads, which imparted approachable notes to the spirit. It’s a great bottle to have if you are new to peated whiskies or to Bowmore. S$72.
To many of the folks at the media and trade tasting session as well as Brand Ambassador Gordon Dundas, the Bowmore 15 Year Old is reminiscent of the distillery’s house style. This is bottled at 43% ABV and like the 10 Year Old, comes in a one-litre bottle. For this, the spirit was married exquisitely in first fill Bourbon casks and matured at the distillery’s famous No. 1 Vaults. This expression is rather bright and uplifting and has peat, citrus and salt notes. The 15 year old is probably made with seasoned drinkers or fans of the distillery in mind and it is our pick of the bunch. S$93.
Finally, the Bowmore 18 Year Old, matured in Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez sherry casks. This expression, bottled at 43% ABV, offers more complexity and intensity compared to the other two releases. This is an engaging whisky that is rich, yet balanced. We got dark chocolates, orange peel and roasted coffee. We recommend a splash of water into this one. What’s also awesome is that this expression will only set you back S$134. It’s an impressive (it’s an 18-year-old after all), yet pocket-friendly bottling for someone who is somewhat important.