Bowmore Small Batch Reserve


“Always expect the unexpected.” That’s what an old rugby coach of mine used to say. “Always keep your opponent guessing”, would be his constant half-time mantra. Someone at Bowmore must’ve overheard him at one of our matches because that’s exactly what they’ve done. I opened this bottle of Bowmore expecting to be hit with a rough ‘n’ ready, heart on its sleeve, bullet train of a whisky. Non-age statement, small batch whiskies can sometimes pack quite a punch if a reasonable part of the bottling consists of youngish liquid so I was pleasantly surprised when I poured this laid back, delicate little beast into my glass the other night.

Bowmore Small Batch Reserve
40% ABV
£33 from here

Nose: Perfumy and floral to begin with a touch of bubblegum, boiled sweets and cream soda. Some fizziness too – strawberry laces and fresh grapes – before the gentle smoke gradually appears. Remarkably light and delicate for a Bowmore.

Palate: Again, very floral and light to begin with. Lemon sherbet, icing sugar, meringue and vanilla custard give way to creamy wood smoke and a touch of oak.

Finish: Some candied sweetness quickly disappears but the oak lingers around for a while.

Overall: A very different Bowmore. Strangely light and delicate but the trademark ‘Bowmore smoke’ eventually comes through. If you’ve got a friend who hasn’t tried an Islay before, or is a bit apprehensive about smoky whisky then this is a great starting point. I usually give folk a Bunnahabhain 12yo as an introductory Islay whisky but this certainly jostles for contention. Pleasantly light and very moreish.




  1. Yes very light with quite a drying finish,definitely a delicate B’more, well worth trying.

    Was on sale at £25 for a while over Xmas. bargain!!

  2. Is it available anywhere other than Asda? I’ve picked up a couple of bottles since it appeared but haven’t heard of it being on the shelf anywhere else…

  3. Asda’s the only place I could find it for sale, quite strange that I haven’t seen it in any other supermarket at all!

  4. I picked up a bottle in Morrison’s last week. It was reduced, too. About £24, iirc.

    Lovely stuff, might have to swing by and pick up another bottle. I’ve got a feeling this one isn’t going to last me very long.

  5. In case anyone is looking for this it is on sale in Sainsburys for £25. The only other Bowmore that I have tried is a 17 year old single malt. This is completely different but at the same time excellent. I immediately tasted the sweetness of the bourbon cask. At first the taste is quite fiery and then you are hit by the traditional smokey flavour associated with Bowmore. This whiskey is very nourish and becomes smoother with each taste. The aftertaste is sweet caramel leading to a deep oak flavour.

  6. Wow,
    I’ve just tasted this after being given a bottle for dog-sitting! The first fiery bite soon rounds off into a smooth delicacy! My palette is no longer refined enough to pick up the tastes that the first post suggests but what a lovely drop of malt! I had never tried Bowmore before, being more a Laphroig and Talisker person (and the only distilleries I’d visited on Islay) but this is so pleasant and drinkable

  7. Picked up a bottle from Tesco yesterday for £25. As stated above, rather different from other Bowmores, the few I’ve tasted at least. What do I think? Wiell, I’ll be off down to shop tomorrow for another bottle!

  8. Having recently bought a bottle at a boat show and was given an age of the whiskey at the show but since forgotten what I was told, having looked over the bottle and not being able to find an age on it, could anyone reading these blogs tell me the age. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Anti-Spam Protection by WP-SpamFree