Bowmore 25 Years

” Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”

Whisky Review # 926
Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bowmore
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 25 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Mix of Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Sherry Casks
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 320-380 (August 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎 Way too expensive for what it offers!
Buying Advice: 👎Quite Thin and all-around disappointing for a 25 Years!

Colour: Mahogany (Artificially Colored)


The delivery is a bit on the Thin side. A Single Malt this old should at least have an ABV of 46% or, preferably, Cask Strength. Corporate minds produce corporate Malts that obtain corporate profits. It's a pity really! The Nose is mainly Sweet but a few Sour and Salty notes offer some balance in this department. The Peat and Smoke are still there of course but the years have mellowed them down considerably. The Nose is okay I suppose with some Coastal, Floral, Herbal, Sherry & Fruity notes but I was expecting much more.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, (Dark) Red Berries, Plum/Strawberry Jam, Campfire Smoke, Forest Floor, Strong Tea/Espresso, Dark Chocolate, Tobacco, Dried Herbs, Floral Soap and Cinnamon.
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Vanilla, Lemon, Grapefruit, Green Apple, Iodine, Leather, Wax, Dried Fruit/Nuts mix, Cloves, Mint and Old Wood.


Quite disappointing really. I'm a huge fan of well-matured Islay malt with its Creamy mouthfeel, perfect Wood and laid back Peat/Smoke but this one is simply not working for me. Way too Thin and Bland. I absolutely would not give this 25 years in a Blind tasting! The palate is an unassuming mix of (Sugary) Sweet, Bitter and Sour notes. Not really bad but again I was expecting much more. Bowmore is not my favorite Islay Malt and this 25 Years does nothing to change my mind. If you like mature Bowmore, better go for the 18 Years.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Toasted Malt, Burnt Toast, Salted Caramel, Hazelnut/Raisin Dark Chocolate, Campfire Smoke, Forest Floor, Strong Tea/Espresso, Dried Fruit like Plums & Figs, Mixed Nuts (Hazelnut, Walnut), Floral Soap, Dried Herbs, Cinnamon and Cloves.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Vanilla, Cotton-Candy, Cocoa Powder, Lemon, Grapefruit, Dusty Oak/Cellar, Cigar Ashes, Iron, Mint and Cherry-Flavored Cough Syrup.


Middle-Long and on the Thin side. Mainly Sweet with a few Sour and Bitter accents. You hardly notice the Alcohol. The aftertaste quickly becomes quite Dry and slightly Metallic like when you've bitten a coin. Not that I do that a lot of course get the picture. The Finish is easily the weakest part of this Bowmore. I find Toasted Malt, Burnt Toast, Burnt Heather, Salted Caramel, Herbal Tea, Campfire Smoke, Garden Compost, Strong Stale Espresso, Dried Fruit like Prunes & Figs, Mixed Nuts, Dark Chocolate, Cigar Ashes, Soot, Lemon, Grapefruit, Mint, Dusty Oak, Leather, Tobacco, Soap and Cherry-Flavored Cough Syrup.

Drinking Advice:

It's no use adding Water to this Bowmore. It's already too Thin as presented.

Rating: 85

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21  - Overall: 21

Drinking Experience Neat: Not bad but thoroughly disappointing!


Bowmore is the oldest Islay Distillery and was founded in 1779 by David Simpson. It changed hands a couple of times along the years but since 1994 the Japanese Suntory group controls Bowmore. Bowmore still malts around 30% of the Barley on their premises. They currently produce around 2 million liters of Alcohol. The core range includes the NAS # 1, the 12, the 15 Darkest, the 18 and 25 Years. Some of the Bowmore Spirit is used in Blends like Rob Roy and Black Bottle. We visited the distillery in 2014 & 2017. I absolutely love the Malting Floor. Nice Shop and Visitor-Centre. Certainly well-worth the visit.

I was really looking forward to tasting this 25-Year old Bowmore and given its salty price-tag I was expecting a lot. Unfortunately though, I don't think I've ever been quite as disappointed when tasting a mature Islay Malt. Let me start by saying that it's not a bad Single Malt but at this age and this price level it should be nothing else but great and it isn't. Way too Thin and, yes, boring. Indifferent casks as well. And we're expected to pay over 300 Dollars for this. No way! Bowmore can produce great mature Malts and the late great but extinct 17 Years is one of my all-time favorite Single Malts. But this 25 Years old hurts and not only your wallet!


Jan van den Ende                                                                        August 11, 2021

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

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