It’s time to have a look at our Whisky of the Month for May.
This time we have decided to go for an expression from one of Islay’s most famous and cherished distilleries, a single cask expression of which only 159 bottles were released – The Bowmore 30 Year Old from Rest & Be Thankful indie bottling company.
This incredible dram was distilled on Islay in 1985, matured in an ex-bourbon cask for 30 years and then finally bottled and released in 2015. It was bottled at 43.90% and was created without the use of chill filtration and artificial colourings, making it an honest and authentic account of top quality Bowmore whisky.
The nose of this Bowmore starts with a lovely little hint of oak and vanilla that obviously come from the bourbon cask. The lower alcohol content (when compared to many other single cask whiskies) in this bottle means that there is no initial burn or ethanol to get past and that’s a beautiful thing. As soon as you start sniffing, you get hit with some incredible notes.
Some fruity flavours follow, mainly hints of lemon drizzle cake and a subtle sweetness that is reminiscent of the smell when you first pop open an orange peel. These are met with more oak (it is an oaky one!) and then a very slight smokiness comes through to make sure you know the dram is from Islay.
More vanilla comes on the finish and there is a very subtle salty tang that lasts for a few seconds, cleaning your palate, before a long oaky finish holds until the next sip.
So that’s what to expect from the spirit, but what of those behind this elegant whisky?
The Bowmore distillery lies on the south east shore of Loch Indaal on the famous whisky producing Isle of Islay. It is one Scotland’s oldest distilleries, said to have been founded all the way back in 1779 by John P Simpson, a local merchant.
He soon sold the distillery to the Mutter family who would introduce a whole array of new-fangled, never before seen processes to the site. They also took the rather extreme, but necessary step of building a small steam ship that would help bring barley and coal to the island to be used in whisky production at Bowmore.
The Mutter family owned the distillery until 1925 when they eventually sold it on.
Over the next 40 odd years it would change hands several times before eventually ending up under the control of Stanley P. Morrison and James Howat’s company, Stanley P. Morrison Ltd. When they bought Bowmore in 1963 they changed their name to Morrison Bowmore Ltd. (we’re sure you’ve heard of them!).
They ran the distillery very successfully until Suntory bought them over 1994. Bowmore is still owned by Suntory today and their whiskies are more sought after than they have ever been before.
One bottle of 1850 Bowmore single malt even sold for £29,000 in 2007 (a crazy sum if you ask us, but if you’ve got it then why not?).
Rest & Be Thankful Whisky Company
The Rest & Be Thankful bottling company is one that is slowly building up a repertoire of fantastic single malt (often single cask, as is the case here) whiskies, and with it, a fantastic reputation.
The company’s name comes from an inscription made on stone by soldiers who were building a military road over 200 years ago. The stone sits atop a very steep hill, looking down on the deep valley below. It was at this spot that travellers and soldiers alike would literally stop to rest & be thankful.
The company has ensured that they do the name justice and the whiskies that they release have a reputation for being smooth and well-rounded but also quite complex, allowing you to sit back and literally rest and be thankful as your mind, palate and nose are taken on a journey around the different parts of Scotland where each whisky was produced.
As the bottler’s expression list grows, their reputation will also, particularly if they keep releasing whiskies like this incredible Bowmore 30.
So now we know that this whisky comes from one the best distilleries in the country and was bottled by one of the most exciting up and coming bottlers in the game today, so the liquid inside is sure to be good, right?
Yes, exactly right. This whisky brings a deep complexity that is hard to rival and offers drinkers the opportunity to taste an authentic, pure and clean version of Bowmore whisky as they may not have tried it before.
As one of only 159 bottles, it is not only exquisite, but also very rare, meaning that those that do get their hands on this whisky will have to choose between opening it and experiencing the joy within, or sticking it on their shelf for a few years and watching its value soar (we’d recommend drinking it, but either is fine!).
The whisky offers a lot and that, combined with the rarity, (and the fact we just love it) makes this Bowmore 30 Year Old by Rest & Be Thankful our Whisky of the Month for May.