The Bowmore Devil’s Casks isn’t the overwhelming sherry bomb I thought it was going to be. It’s more like a sherry controlled explosion, which I love. I hate it when the sherry completely dominates and overwhelms the whisky and instead of having a glass of nicely sweetened whisky you end up sipping something that more resembles a whisky finished sherry and completely loses the point of marrying the two. The Bowmore Devil’s cask walks this line is absolutely fantastic.
Being a 10 year small batch release it’s not likely we’re going to see it again unless the lads at Bowmore were preparing for it to be a hit and have stocks ready to go for a new batch next year. Which I hope they do and, for a while at least, it becomes a regular thing. We need more sherried whiskies that show this kind of restrain and balance while still exploding with complex flavors and aromas.
If you’ve tried the Bowmore Devil’s Casks add your thoughts and notes in the comments below.
Bowmore Devil’s Casks Info
Region: Islay, Scotland
Mashbill: 100% malted barley
Cask: First fill sherry casks
Age: 10 years
Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Bowmore Devil’s Casks Review
Smoke, sherry (duh) and caramel syrup dominate the nose and create a diabolical background for a horde of sweet and savory notes the play. Iodine, burnt toffee, maple, strawberry preserves, leather, cinnamon and smoked ham are all running amok with a slight nutty underpinning.
Sherry and peat (really? no way) come roaring out of the bottle like a bat out of hell with caramel adding some backup wails. Tobacco, a bit of oak, roasted nuts, a hint of candy like Smarties, a very mild herbal quality and a healthy dose of the darkest fruit leather Hell has to offer creates this complex and delicious Danse Macabre.
This is quite a thorny whisky with a burn commensurate to it’s name and slightly oily texture.
Smoke, wood, tobacco and dark fruit fade to a soft smoke that hangs around like a disembodied soul, haunting the palate long after it’s gone.
Bowmore Devil’s Casks was the most surprising whisky I had in 2013 and for me set a new standard on peated sherried whisky and I wish I had another bottle in reserve. The aroma and flavor are both rich, chewy and dense with complex layers all balanced together nicely. It’s one of those whiskies that puts a smile on my face every time I pour a glass.
Stocks of it disappeared instantly in all of the bottle shops around me and I was really lucky to stumble upon this one and already the secondary prices on it are inching upwards. if you get the chance to try the Bowmore Devil’s Casks I highly recommend you grab this devil by the horns and settle in for one hell of a delicious ride.
Bowmore Devil’s Casks Review - Score Breakdown
- Nose - 94
- Palate - 94
- Finish - 94
- Balance, Body & Feel - 94
The Bowmore Devil’s Casks is a a rich full whisky that’s multifaceted and tasty from start to finish, but a bit brutal in its delivery of heavy peat and sweet. However, that brutality is nicely balanced and fully delivers across the senses.
Bowmore Devil’s Casks: Last Glass Update (12-23-15)
This last glass of Bowmore Devil’s Casks batch 1 is the perfect time to reflect on something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately: Perspective. To the people living in control states, who have no ability to secure old National Distillers whiskey, bottles of Bourbon deLuxe are worth $100+ because they can’t find it. It’s not amazing whiskey, but the fact that it doesn’t exist near them makes it precious. Meanwhile I stumble over the stuff everywhere here in Los Angeles and refuse to pay more than $12 for a liter.
To the person who hasn’t tasted much within a certain category a base bottle may seem amazing, and sometimes they are, but their frame of reference is limited and someone with a broader range of tasting might see it as “meh”. The Bowmore Devil’s Casks batch 1 was that for me. When I first tasted it I’d had what I considered a good amount of first fill sherry barrel aged whisky and this whisky floored me. I’ve since had 4-5x more whisky that fits that description and my perspective on this has changed a bit, which is why I do these last glass re-caps.
I still think the Bowmore Devil’s Casks batch 1 is an obscenely good glass of whisky. Sitting in my recliner, reading through my 1/4, 1/2 & 3/4 notes and typing this stream of thoughts I’m elated to be sipping on the last glass of this bottle. It’s the kind of whisky I wish I had bought a case of back when it came out. I did downgrade the score after final in(tro)spection, but it stayed in the A range because all I want to do right now is open another and if that’s not a sign of a great whisky I don’t know what is.
FINAL VERDICT: Bottles of Bowmore Devil’s Casks Batch 1 are going for $850 – $900 in specialty shops and up to $1,200 in auction so it’s not likely you’re going to find a bottle anytime soon, BUT if you do get the opportunity to get one at a sane price snatch it up!