One of my favorite new releases from this ever-growing, ever-expanding holiday whisky season is this satanic little number from one of Scotland's most conservative distilleries. Bowmore seems to always be the Islay distillery with the most boring limited edition whiskies. Ardbeg is always hyping up some Supernova explosion, Diageo usually delivers with Lagavulin and Caol Ila exclusives, and Laphroaig has been one of the steadiest suppliers with their wonderful Cairdeas series. Bowmore, perhaps tied with Springbank and Kilchoman for David D's personal favorite distillery, never seems to bring anything fun to the limited edition party. Until now....
The new "Devil's Casks" series is to Bowmore what the A'Bunadh is to Aberlour: big, young, bold, first-fill sherry casks at full proof, non chill-filtered. I popped a bottle yesterday to see what was going on. There's a lot going. A lot.
There's no heat in the "Devil's Cask" 10 year old like there is in the A'Bunadh. It doesn't bowl you over with power. What is there, however, is a thick, meaty, dark, fudgy, chewy mouthful of Bowmore goodness. The smoke and oil don't come in until the backend of this thing. Only after you swallow do you get the phenolic explosion of peat, smoke, and that sooty Bowmore magic. It almost goes minty after that.
In any case, I can't promise you that the Bowmore is for you, like I know it is for me. I'm a big fan of heavily-sherried Bowmore whisky, so others who feel the same will probably dig this tremendously. People looking for Lagavulin DE will probably fair better with that whisky for about the same price. That's the sugar-coated Islay whisky. This is old school one.