Travel retail was once an inexpensive way to try a new whisky, back in a time before the whisky boom.
You could try all manner of standard expressions, with the odd travel retail exclusive to sweeten the deal. These days, this channel is an avenue for different expressions; exclusive, as well, but not exactly always inspiring or exciting.
We’re happy to report that the new travel retail range from Bowmore will be something readily enjoyable. Straight from their No. 1 Vaults, the new offerings are bringing back home something that has been absent for five long years – age statements. Thank God they had the nerve to put these three out.
Needless song-dropping aside, Bowmore’s new-fangled trio showcase three popular Bowmore styles, three popular ages, and three competitive price tags.
First-fill casks feature prominently in the 10YO and 15YO expressions, probably a nod to successful limited edition lines. The Bowmore 10YO for travel retail was no doubt inspired by the highly successful project that was known as The Devil’s Casks. After the series had finished its run following three successful batches, Bowmore released one limited edition whisky of the same ilk (which featured wine casks as well) for travel retail.
With ex-sherry casks at a premium, I asked Gordon Dundas, the Global Brand Ambassador, if this range had a short tenure. The answer was no; this was something Bowmore had been carefully managing and could offer this range for a couple of years. Hurrah then, fans of sherried whiskies looking for an affordable daily dram… that’s provided you fly often enough.
If you aren’t familiar with the idea of a young, heavily sherried Bowmore, then this would be a good time to try one. Bold and intense comes to mind, though at 40% ABV, much gentler than the infamous Devil’s Casks. The new travel retail 10 YO is a marriage of Spanish Oak sherry casks and hogsheads, resulting in a dark amber that first teases with familiar hints of dried fruit, Seville orange and toasted maple on the nose. On the palate, expect the also-familiar notes of sultanas and dark fruits, intertwined with the familiar sea salt and gentle peat smoke synonymous with Bowmore today.
The Bowmore 15YO for travel retail is undoubtedly was based on the highly regarded Bowmore Tempest – this expression consists of first fill Bourbon casks and hogsheads, which gives it an intense, golden barley colour. This is Bowmore, stripped to its essentials, but they slipped in a firecracker; but don’t worry it’s only 40%, so it’s pleasantly drinkable straight out of the bottle. You get a hint of citrus, silken peat smoke, mild salt and vanilla.
The oldest Bowmore in the range spends at least 18 years in ex-Oloroso and ex-Pedro Ximénez sherry casks, which impart a rich, chocolate flavour, along with that of treacle coffee, dates and bitter-sweet orange peel, which subsides into an aromatic, roasted coffee. Bowmore calls this the crown jewel of their range, and it is undoubtedly the most expensive (though not that expensive) and is only available in 700ml as opposed to the usual 1-litre bottle.
So the next time you’re at the DFS, do remember to check this trio of offerings out. The 10YO (1L) retails for S$72, the 15YO (1L) for S$98, and the 18YO for S$135 (700ml), which in today’s terms, are very fair prices indeed.