Well this is a big day here at SOTR, this is our 200th post! Pretty crazy that we’ve made it that far so quickly. I’m not going to get too sentimental over it but I thought it deserved at least a shout out and a gracious Thank You to all of you who have ever come and read the site. So Thank You all!
Now, let’s get into this Bowmore Legend whisky! To begin talking about something that is named Legend, I think we need a bit of a history lesson. The Bowmore distillery is often considered the oldest distillery on Islay. Started by John Simpson in 1779 they have been creating whisky for quite a while. So I would consider them to have a legendary status. There is a lot more to the story behind Bowmore, but it’s all covered in the fantastic book 1001 Whiskies to Try Before You Die. I would suggest picking up a copy. It’s not something that you sit down and read, but it’s a great resource book for sure.
I’m just beginning to dip my toe in Scotch whisky so I’m not exactly sure where this Bowmore Legend will take me. This bottle was personally recommended to me by a friend. It’s one of his favorite whiskies, and he thought I’d enjoy it. For only $30 I figured I’d give it a try. So let’s hop into it and see whats going on!
One of the great things about trying new whisky is tracking down a bottle that you find pleasing to the eye. As I said, I was personally recommended this bottle, so I knew what I was looking for. However, tracking it down is still a lot of fun. I got to sit and look through a ton of bottles at the liquor store. Instead of just asking someone I prefer to sit and stare and take it all in. That’s precisely what I did when looking for this Bowmore Legend.
When I finally found it I was excited and shocked by the price. It was only $30, I was expecting at least $70 based on previous conversations with my friend and other whiskies he had recommended. The first thing I noticed about the bottle the very modern looking label. It doesn’t look like a whisky that has been around since 1779. Obviously, they have had to update the packaging since the beginning, but I really like the overall aesthetic of the packaging.
There is a dominant eye catching white label that arches at the top. It then has Bowmore printed congruent with arch. Below that in a copper colored ink the word “Islay” is printed letting us know where this whisky is produced. Below that “Single Malt Scotch Whisky”. Two very important statements to really let you know what you’re about to get into.
My favorite part about the packaging though is the copper box right in the middle of the label. It simply says “Legend”. It’s so simple that it really stands out and makes a statement to me. Well, I think we’ve covered enough on the packaging of this Bowmore Legend, we should probably crack open the bottle and see what’s inside. Don’t you think?
Coming out of the bottle this Bowmore Legend isn’t that overpowering. It’s only standing at 40% ABV, which is a nice change of pace for me. Considering some of the bourbon’s I’ve been hitting up lately! Out of the gate I pick up a strong alcohol note. More of the rubbing alcohol / mouthwash note instead of a pleasurable whisky note that I would prefer. Next I get a lot of what reminds me as wet tobacco. In fact it’s almost identical to opening a can of Copenhagen snuff. Now I’ve actually snuffed before, but I’ve been around plenty of times and I know exactly what that smell is. Tobacco is definitely the dominant note though with some hints of chocolate and leather. They’re hard to find, but I picked up a bit of them here and there when nosing the glass.
Smoke. Seriously, taking a sip from this dram I just picked up a strong sense of smoke and overall tobacco-i-ness. It’s a real word, look it up. On the front end I picked up a good dose of sweetness. It faded and that tobacco picked up again. Then it transformed into a minty note that somewhat interesting.
This is my first Islay whisky, and everyone refers to Islays as having a strong smoky and peaty flavor. I can definitely pick out a lot of that peat as well. Overall this Bowmore Legend has a very herbal flavor to it. Personally, not a huge fan of it right now. I’ll have to try some other Islays, to get a more conclusive verdict on my love or hate factor of the peaty-ness.
The finish on this Bowmore Legend was probably the best part to me. It was fairly long and coating. It had quite a viscous feeling to it. Very oily finish that was a bit gritty as well. They finishing note was smokey, almost campfire like. To me, the finish added a nice bit of depth to something that wasn’t that complex in the rest of the experience.
Bowmore Legend Single Malt Whisky: 7/10
Personally, not a huge fan of this Bowmore Legend whisky. I’m going to have a couple more goes at it and see if it develops any further. I’m actually really excited to pair this with a cigar. Because it has such a strong tobacco flavor to it I’d be interested to see how it pairs with different cigars. Would they clash or blend? I’m excited to try. So needless to say next time I have this whisky I’ll have a cigar by it and hopefully I’ll enjoy it a bit more.