I Lagavulin I Bruichladdich I Caol Ila I Port Ellen I LaphroaigI Bowmore I Jura I Kilchoman I Ardbeg I
The Bowmore distillery organized a lot of events for their open day, enough to keep you busy for a whole (rainy) day!
I started my day by the traditional tour, hoping to capture the different elements with my camera which I had not time to capture the year before. I was ready to operate as quickly as possible, not listening most of the comments from the guide. Fortunately for him, enough tourists were carefully listening to him !
I just managed to take the remaining photographs, thanks to the help of the Marketing Manager of Suntory (owner of the distillery) who joined the group I had joined. I really think it is a shame they are such in a rush for their tours, especially considering the beauty of this distillery: everything is impecably clean and shiny. Bowmore distillery is more like a show room than a working distillery and I would not mind spending more time with the tours at Bowmore in the different sections to fully appreciate the beauty of the distillery.
After the tour, I moved to the pavillon close to the swimming pool for the Percy's Blas Class. The master was very interesting, since we had the opportunity to try some young "new Bowmore"! About 10 years ago, the Bowmore management decided to use exclusively first fill bourbon and sherry casks. The master class was a blind tasting of bourbon and sherry Bowmore aged 5 and 10 years, found the drams pretty impressive! The bourbon samples were already pretty rounded and not as aggressive as most whiskies of that age and the flavours not fully developed. The 5 YO was too young, but the 10 YO started to develop some nice clean and rounded flavours, without a single hint of woodiness, and a very pleasant smooth smoky finish. It will be a superb whisky in 5 -7 years. The big suprise came from the spirits matured in the sherry casks. They were truely impressive! Somewhat simple at first glance, the 5 YO is very fresh and clean by adding a dash of water, a new layer of flavours emerged, mainly fresh fruits (pears) and heather. Additional smoothness and honey is reached by adding more water. Really stunning for its age! The 10 YO sherry was also exceptionnal. For its age, the complexity was impressive but needed water to separate the complex flavours contained in this whisky: Round, smooth, complex with a sherry influence well balanced with a smoky, peaty, fruity and malty taste. The only thing I can say to Bowmore for those sherry samples is: don't listen to your marketing and bottle it now!
To close the master class, we had the first world tasting of the Enigma, a mix of bowmore from bourbon and sherry casks. Very good, but not as good as the drams we just sampled! (PS: one week after the Bowmore open day, a bottle was sold on a web auction for over 160 euro!).
To finish off my "Bowmore Open day", I listened to some local stories in the famous Vault N°1. It was pretty cold and damp, but perfect for some drams and for the maturation of the spirit!