Bowmore 12 Review

Bowmore 12 Review

Bowmore 12 is exactly what it sounds like, a 12-year-old Bowmore. On their site Bowmore doesn’t divulge what kind of casks they use for their twelve year old, but when doing the tasting I got some lighter notes that remind me of sherry barrels and in reading other reviews and opinions online others had a similar impression. So while they don’t expressly call it out, it seems like they use a combination of ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry, but it leans heavily on the ex-Bourbon.

In Bowmore’s Words: Bowmore 12

“Complex yet perfectly balanced, our 12 Year Old reflects the raw essence of Bowmore – thrashing waves, windswept landscapes and generations of tradition. Bowmore 12 Year Old has received much critical acclaim; the late, great whisky writer Michael Jackson proclaimed it “remarkably long and complex”. We like to think of it as vanilla ice cream at a beach bonfire.”

I’m not sure when the late great booze writer Michael Jackson wrote those exact words, but he died in 2007 so it’s been at least a decade since making those remarks which means a lot could have changed. For my take on it hop on down to the Bowmore 12 year review below.

Bowmore 12 Info

Region: Islay, Scotland

Distiller: Bowmore
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: ex-Bourbon & possibly some ex-Sherry
Age: 12 Years
ABV: 40%

Price: $47

Bowmore 12 Review


Oily peat, chocolate swirl bread, dried oranges, chalk and minerality with light wisps of red fruit, cherry cordials, cardboard and a farmy maltiness.

Phenolic peaty punch, chocolate swirl bread, chalk, minerality, farmy earthy malt and light currents of allspice, copper, dried fruit and menthol.

Long peat driven finish spritzed with farmy malt, toffee, chalk and cocoa powder.

Not fully balanced, medium body and a soft lifeless feel.

Bowmore 12 has that semi-disjointed Bowmore chalky-earthy-farmy-malt-paired-with-a-shirt-the-morning-after-a-bonfire essence I’m not wild about and it seems to be only the OBs that have it. Nearly every NDP SiB I’ve had is crisper and more cohesive. I don’t know if it’s the amount of caramel coloring they use, the fact that they strip their whiskies down to 40% and chill-filter them or the combination of the two, but there’s something funky in these bottles I don’t get in CS, NCF, NC NDP bottles.

I want to like OB Bowmore, but no matter how many I try it never hits that point of being something I think about pouring when I walk through the door after work. It never occurs to me that it would “hit the spot”. This Bowmore 12 is definitely one of the better OB Bowmore’s I’ve had in recent times, but still…

SCORE: 81/100 (B-)

Bowmore 12 Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 81
  • Palate - 81
  • Finish - 81
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 81


Bowmore 12 is not bad for an OB Bowmore.

Bowmore 12 Label

Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

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