So, back to Islay and this time to Bowmore. I was lucky enough to stay right next door to the distillery the last time we were in Islay; there are few better places to be of an evening than looking across Loch Indaal with the Bowmore distillery behind you and Bruichladdich across the water. And, of course, with a whisky in your hand!
Today we have Mariner, a 15 year old expression that has very much become my 'default' whisky of late.
The nose is full of masses of peat, with a rich vanilla to it. A splash of water brings more of a burnt wood out too.
In the mouth it's all about the big smoke, a rich warming burn all the way down but despite that incredibly smooth. The water brings out quite a sweet tone, but still with buckets and buckets of peat smoke.
I habitually add a little water to whisky – I find it often opens out flavours that can otherwise be missed – but actually the Mariner deserves to be drunk neat. It's not a subtle dram by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a magnificent one.
This review was originally published 14th December, 2011. It was last updated 1st June, 2023.