Limited edition, small batch, one off, never-to-be-seen-again releases are very much in vogue right now what with master blenders wanting to show off different sides to the distilleries in their stable. What does it mean? Well, it means sometimes we get spirit which has been matured in a silly type of cask, or an odd age statement, or a heavily peated whisky from a distillery which doesn’t usually use peat, or sometimes we get a souped up, turbo charged, flame spitting, cask strength bottling of a youngish whisky. I feel Bowmore Tempest IV kinda falls into that last category. This 10yo, 55.1% ABV bottling of first fill bourbon casks is billed on the press release as “wild, raw and untamed”. Funny that, Graeme said similar things about me a few days back…
Bowmore Tempest IV
10 years old
First fill bourbon casks
Only 2,000 cases
£47.95 from here
Nose: Salted caramel, vanilla custard, rhubarb and custard sweets, crystallised lime, and golden honey to begin. All very sweet and light on top. Then eventually there’s some briney peat smoke and dried seaweed coming through. Not particularly wild on the nose to be honest, but very inviting nevertheless.
Palate: Pear skins, apple and rhubarb crumble, salt and vinegar crisps and some drying woody notes all vie for attention. Then there’s a peppery kick and some peat smoke at the back.
Finish: Long, quite drying with sweetness and peaty notes lingering around.
Overall: It’s really quite a calm, reassuring-hand-on-the-shoulder type of dram. The citrus notes and sweetness are there in abundance and are complimented and contrasted with some salty notes and then, of course, the trademark smokiness. For all its high alcohol content and skull and cross bones images on the press release (actually, that might not be entirely true) there’s not a huge amount of wild-ness or raw-ness or untamed-ness going on. It’s a delicious whisky, but if you’re expecting something with a lot of oomph then I’d perhaps think again. This seems to be a dram more suited to being sipped while walking along the beach on a summer’s evening in the sunshine. If only we had the weather for that…