[Experiment] Single Malt Experiment - BowBunadh

You buy bottles of whisky and you get to know them. Before long, you have bought new ones, some with the same flavour profile as the previous one, some with a completely different taste. It is a truly fascinating thing to be able to try such a varied and extensive range of flavours coming from the malted barley, the distillation process, the length of maturation, the type of wood used, whether it is a full maturation or only a finish... And you reach the stage when you actually start thinking about experimenting yourself. Of course, I have no control whatsoever on any of these parameters, but I can still play with the end result. 
It is not the first time I give this a go (as per my previously created A'bunadh 16 or Caol Dronach) and it sometimes works a treat and sometimes leaves me rather disappointed. Today I have decided to follow on in the Sherried/Peated area with a mix of Aberlour A'bunadh and Bowmore No1. Unlike with the previous experiments, I let both malt marry in a miniature for close to a week. SO let's look at the result...

The starting point:

-2/3 Aberlour A'bunadh (batch 53)
-1/3 Bowmore No1
-a couple of drops of water

The A'bunadh is 59.7% and the Bowmore is 40%, so simple maths give us an Abv for the experiment of around 53%

My tasting notes for this BowBunadh:

Nose: Their is still a lot of sherry on the nose with chocolate, walnuts and raisins, but their is also some maritime notes with hints of smoke and sea-spray. A faint bitterness is there too. On the nose, the A'bunadh is definitely overpowering the Bowmore.

Palate: Again, on the palate, the strength of the A'bunadh kicks in very quickly as soon as it hits your tongue. Once again, the sweet raisin and chocolate notes are there with a good amount of spices following and a little peat. Some citric bitterness and pepper too. The peated malt is very subdued though, which I should have expected from a standard Bowmore added to 2/3 powerful Aberlour.

Finish: Quite long and rather dry, some sweetness and bitterness too. The smoke is lingering in the background but again, nothing too obvious.

With Water: At around 53% Abv, the water is definitely not much. The nose becomes fresher and more citric, the palate is sweeter first but gets quite spicy after a few seconds. The sherried Aberlour is still there but I feel the Bowmore has had more of an impact now even if the peat is pretty much non-existent in the dram. The nuttiness has been toned down on the palate for example even if it reappears on the finish. There is still quite a lot of bitterness on the finish with some lemon notes...

My idea here was to try to recreate some Bowmore 15 Darkest at home. Have I succeeded? Not really, but then again, I am not sure the 1/3 2/3 split was the right thing to do as the A'bunadh is so strong compared to the Bowmore. As a last go, I thought I would add more Bowmore to my last (small) dram of BowBunadh and see if I could get any closer to the 15 Darkest.

With More Bowmore: The nose is still sweet but it has now become more tropical. The palate is much more tamed than before (Bowmore is not water but adding 40% into 53% will definitely lower the Abv of the overall result!) sweet first but the smoke starts to be more noticeable. I think I am finally managing to get to sherry/peat mix I was after. The finish is still bitter but it is now wrapped into a warming smoke which is pretty enjoyable! This is no Bowmore 15 Darkest but I must admit it is pretty enjoyable!

Verdict: I do feel I should have seen that coming. You normally add a little bit of peated whisky in the mix so that it doesn't overpower the whole thing, but when we are talking Bowmore peat at 40% into a peat monster at nearly 60%, everything changes. If you want to taste the smoke, go 50/50 if not 2/3 Bowmore and 1/3 A'bunadh. I will definitely take the Abv into account for my next experiment, but all in all, it was a very enjoyable combination to try!


  1. Interesting experiment. Have not been inclined to try this with rums but I might...


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