Everyone knows the Kilchoman distillery on Islay, but did you know they also act as an independent bottler? They have a series called MacBeatha (after the clan who lived near Kilchoman), presenting whisky from other Islay distilleries in the distillery shop. Note the bottle shape which is also used for official Kilchomans. This Bowmore 1997 was the fourth release in this series.
Bowmore 13 yo 1997 (60,3%, MacBeatha 2010, 4th Edition, 315 btl.)
Nose: chalk, sea air, dry peat smoke, hay, lemon… pretty much everything you would expect of young Bowmore. Focused but rather simple perhaps. After a while some biscuity roundness comes out, with light vanilla.
Mouth: the peat is quite heavy on the palate and it seems amplified by a strong peppery kick. Becomes earthy and slightly resinous with a leafy bitterness. Lemon balm. Cardamom. Liquorice.
Finish: long, with grapefruit zest, herbs and a pinch of salt.
A very clean Bowmore, quite faultless but I’ve had more complex 1997 independent expressions that were cheaper as well. Around € 110.