Bowmore Small Batch Reserve

Bowmore Small Batch Reserve Bourbon Cask Matured

  • Islay single malt scotch whisky
  • 40% ABV, £25 for 70cl
  • Score: 82/100

What they say:

Small Batch

40% abv | Exclusively matured in first and second fill ex bourbon casks, then blissfully married together.

Good Things Come In Small Batches

Exclusively matured in first and second fill ex bourbon casks, then blissfully married together, Small Batch exhibits the best qualities of both. First-fill bourbon offers delicious vanilla sweetness, subtle spices and bourbon oak smoke to complement Bowmore’s gentle peaty smokiness, while the second-fill cask enhances Bowmore’s fresh fruity complexity and showcases its trademark honey and creamy malt character.

Tasting Notes

On the eye warm gold.

Breathe in vanilla fudge, sea air and peat smoke, balanced beautifully by honeycomb and cinnamon spice.

Sip mouth-watering citrus, gentle saltiness and vanilla with flakes of coconut.

Savour the wispy smoke, bourbon vanilla and lime finish.


What I say:

Dram #5 at the WOLS Burns Tasting 22/01/2015 was this Bowmore Small Batch – Bourbon Cask Matured release. This no-age statement (NAS) release was originally released as the Small Batch Reserve Bourbon Cask Matured before being repackaged with the word Reserve taken out. Presumably this must have been to prevent any confusion surrounding the idea that Bowmore distillery were producing small batch Bourbon Whiskey (instead of scotch single malt matured in ex-bourbon casks) – one can only assume? At present this appears to be Bowmore’s entry-level malt


Full amber gold (10/20) with medium tears


Malty cereal barley, vanilla cream/custard, some depth in the peaty earthy aromas, floral, orange blossom citrus, peat smoke, dusty ash, beef monster munch (corn snacks) and burnt toast


Cereal barley malt, marmite on brown toast, dusty smoky peat, creamy vanilla custard and coconut


Long peaty and creamy, some citric lime foam


Pleasantly surprised. There were some tasters to whom this was not appealing. Compared against some of the other recent very citric and zesty lemon/limey Bowmore expressions I was really impressed. For an entry-level malt this has some depth of malt and peat and some complexity and real body to it, without revealing too much zesty youthfulness. I would happily dram this at this price!

Don’t take my word for it:

Categories: Bowmore, Islay

Tagged as: , ,

3 replies »

    • Thanks for the correction Billy. I may have confused myself as we purchased this long before we used it in a tasting and assumed we had the original release rather than the rebranded one. Cheers


Leave a Reply to Barry Bradford Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.