Whisky tasting: Bowmore Black Rock

I’ve talked about my love-hate deal with Bowmore, so I won’t repeat that. Instead I’ll go off on a travel retail rant. The Black Rock is one of the 3 or 4 “travel retail exclusives” that Bowmore do. I’ve had two of them, the White Sands and this one, and the White Sands is the only onen in the range carrying an age statement. So there’s two black marks against this one before the bottle is even open, in these days where NAS and TR are frowned upon.

I’ve had a couple of naff TR drams (no names but they were definitely below the standard normally delivered) so I was a little hesitant to start with this one. But start I did.

Nose: rounded, caramel, malt, vanilla, spice, maybe cinnamon, orange peel, a hint of peat smoke.

Taste: lots of chewy malt up front, dark chocolate, orange, cardamom, salted caramel, demerera sugar, a little smoke coming in over the top but not overpowering.

Finish: decent length, toffee, smoky malt and a hint of the sea.

And with a drop of water.

Nose: More dark chocolate and spice, a profound opening event. Less citrus, more toffee.

Taste: Coffee and spice over the top, and pepper.

Finish: All the above, maybe less salt and some milk chocolate.

The official tasting notes:

On the eye dark amber

Breathe in smoke infused with raisins, pepper, warm cocoa beans and burnt orange

Sip rich sherry and peat smoke followed by blackcurrant treacle toffee and cinnamon spice

Savour beautifully balanced peat smoke and sea salt

It’s good stuff. It maybe NAS, TR, chill filtered and only 40%, but I’m happy to recommend it.