An evening of Islay, Bowmore Single Malt 12 – 25 yrs old

At the moment I´m sunning myself in summery Buenos Aires but before I left a wet and windy London, I spent an Evening on Islay, a single malt Scotch whisky tasting featuring the Scotch whisky of Bowmore at the Malmaison Hotel in Clerkenwell. I do like single malts. I was introduced to them when I worked for Oddbins and since then, I´ve never looked back. I prefer the smoother, softer Scotch whiskys of Dufftown, Balvenie being one of my favourites but when aged, those smoky, peaty single malts can also find a place in my heart, or rather in my belly. Bowmore belongs to that class of smoky peaty single malts. The Bowmore distillery was founded in 1779 and is the oldest distillery on the isle. They have been making whiskey on the same spot ever since and use the pure waters of the Laggan River which carry with it peaty notes, still hand turn their malted barlet and use the same Islay peat to fire up the malt drying kilns.  You could say they like to stick with tradition. The whiskys are ages in old sherry, bourbon, and claret casks which give them each a distinctive flavour and all the barrels rest in Vault No 1 which is below sea level. Most people like to drink their single malts on their own or as an after dinner drink but Bowmore wants us to look again and consider single malt as a companion to dinner, not an afterthought. John Woodward, Executive Chef of Malmaison was tasked with matching the 12 and 15 yr olds with savoury food while the 18 and 25 year olds were matched with chocolate. The 12 year old was served w ith smoked salmon that had been marinated in the whisky for 6 hrs. and the 18 yr old was served with a roast porchetta sandwich. The smoked salmon was a very good match, the whisky being quite smoky and lemony with a slight honeyed sweetness. Whisky and smoked salmon seemed to go best together....

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