Unfamiliar with Islay scotch? Our previous post will give you some context before diving into this review of Bowmore Vault Edition Atlantic Sea Salt, created by the Islay’s oldest distillery and the first release in a four-part limited-edition series.
The nose has a peaty (smoky) character but, through the power of suggestion (and, truth, after reading the label), we would concede that it is also reminiscent of the smell of sea salt. We also detected notes of caramel and flowers in the drink. Putting it all together, one may picture a warm beach, ornate with vegetation, and one of those pesky doughnut salesperson (a mute one, thankfully). The taste is rich, elaborate and nuanced. The smoke is very present but does not steal the show. While it is a pricier whisky (around $200 a bottle), there is plenty of flavour (including notes of toffee, brownie and bitter chocolate) to enjoy.
Overall, we are of the view that it is safer to reserve this limited edition for "certified" amateurs of peaty whiskies. This being said, even those who enjoy fruitier and smoother whiskies should recognize that it is a balanced and enjoyable drink. —Guillaume Garih