I love my whisky high-proof, and my peated scotches intensely peated. On first pour, Bowmore 18 felt a little boring. It's slightly peated, slightly sweet, and lightly interesting. I'm admittedly a sucker for intense whiskies, and Bowmore 18 is not that. I labeled it as a whisky of an older generation where subtle flavors were king, and loud expressions were uncouth.
There is a generational divide among scotch drinkers. There are those that exclusively drink low-proof (40ish% ABV) scotch, and those that enjoy higher proof whiskies. Bowmore 18 is likely to taste a little too "regular" for the latter whisky drinker, who have plenty of options when it comes to peated and sweet-forward scotches.
However, my first impression of Bowmore 18 wasn't the fair one. Although I found it a little ordinary, I kept reaching for it over the last few months when I wanted something subtler to drink. Subtle doesn't mean less complex. Subtle means it's a scotch softer in volume, but not soft in character. Bowmore 18 has all the balance, character and strength one needs in a quieter scotch.
For Bowmore fans, this is a fantastic buy that you can get at a pretty decent price (these days) in most places (low $100s US). If you have a lot of high-proof whiskies, you might easily overlook Bowmore 18, but I'd encourage you to give it a second try. It's become a wonderfully charming go to for quiet evenings, and I'll be buying another when this one is done.
Bowmore 18 Years Aged
Category: Single malt scotch, peated, 18 Years Matured
Nose: Caramel, cinnamon, sponge cake, dried fruits. Char smoke. Caramel. Notes of dark chocolate. Something between orange, lime, and lemon zest towards the end.
Palate: Dried fruit, dried tannins, lots of acidity, and plenty of rich cinnamon spice. Some brown sugar on the finish along with butter and spicy notes. Some licorice.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ Your great regular rotation whisky that'll come and go
Bowmore 18 is in a competitive market of peated whisky and flavor bomb finishes. In this field of big hitters, scotch drinkers that love a lightly peated scotch at an older age statement are going to gravitate toward Bowmore. While there is no hard-hitting oomph to Bowmore 18, it makes up for it in depth of character. It's a whisky to get to know. If the price point doesn't dissauade you from having this as a regular evening pour, than this is one to add to your whisky cabinet.