Elements of Islay BW5–Bowmore [1996] – review & notes

Another superb bottle I got to taste this week with friends (thanks Assaf!). This one is a vatting (mixing) of 1995 and 1996 casks, making it a 1996 vintage (we always take the youngest malt in the vatting), and the 5th such bottling from Bowmore in the Elements of Islay series (A good series of Islay bottling by The whisky Exchange). Always interesting to try 1990’s Bowmore (thank goodness no FWP here).


Elements of Islay  ,Bowmore Bw5 , NAS , (1996 unofficial) 50,2% abv , 0,5 Liter  ,£85bw5

Nose: Starting off with wet fur, wet cloth, or whatever you may call it, It is rather nice, quite restrained in terms of peat and smoke, very balanced and gentle. Sniffing under the wee smoke you may find the tropical fruits you’re looking for in that kind of dram : candied pineapple, and tinned peaches, on top of vanilla ice cream. add a wee touch of smoke to it all, and you’ve got a belter of a nose.

Palate:  More of the sweet exotic fruit on the palate on the first wave of sensations : Pineapple, peach, even some mango  and then some citrus fruit (not as bitter, but the citrus shines through), along with a whiff of sea breeze, and distant smoke.

Finish:  Some more whiffs of fruity goodness, and a very light note of smoked banana.


An excellent Bowmore, with a lot of fruitless, some smoke, and not a lot of PEAT. If you enjoy that combination, this one is for you. If you prefer smoky and harsher Islay expressions, then look elsewhere. At any rate, the only bad thing I can say is that it’s a pity this comes in a small bottle (0,5L) and is not cheap at all for that…


Score: 91/100

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