Halloween is one of my favourite times of the year so of course I went with the aptly named Bowmore Devil’s Casks for this week’s (and first!) Sample Sips Tuesday. Aside from the obvious candy coated reason for loving Halloween, I love putting together costumes! But what’s a costume loving geek to do the rest of the year? Go to one of the many fan expos of course! I attended my first one this year, the Calgary Expo, and it was just amazing! Seeing cosplayers in real life is great! For those from the whisky world who may not be in the know, cosplay is short for costume play and those wearing the awesome character costumes are cosplayers.
One issue that bothered me in the past is that I could never think of awesome female sci-fi or fantasy characters to dress up as. Most of the female characters are just lame damsels in distress. So inevitably I’d come up with a long list of bad ass male characters I could dress up as like Mario, Vegeta, Beetlejuice or Darkwing Duck (Darkwing is the best and you can not convince me otherwise!). So when attending the expo it was refreshing to see so many people gender bending their favourite character and making it their own from female Han Solos to female Iron Man. Even the guys were getting in on it. I never thought I’d see so many male Sailor Scouts in one place ever. So devil be damned, dress as you like for Halloween!
Speaking of the devil, let’s get on to the Halloween themed Sample Sip! The Bowmore Devil’s Casks (56.9% ABV) is a 10 year old whisky matured in first fill sherry casks. This is a single malt scotch whisky hailing from the Isle of Islay. Whiskies from this isle tend to be very peaty and/or smoky. There’s a round church there so that the devil can’t hide in a corner. According to the folks at Bowmore, the devil was spotted running from the church to the distillery but he could not be found. It is suspected the devil escaped into one of the casks.
The color is dark amber, like a crisp brown fall leaf. You can smell the devil scheming, evidenced by the hint of smoke. It has a spicy nose of cinnamon and clove with a touch of toffee. The smell makes me think of mulled cider, or rum or a Christmas fruit cake and is most certainly a fine temptress. Damned if you don’t taste it damned if you do is the feeling I get. The first sip hits you with cinnamon heart candy and certainly gets a hell fire burning. With a few more sips, and with a small drop of water added, you can start picking out the smoky flavours and an initial sweetness that must be from the Sherry cask. It’s sort of like sipping a fruit cake with cinnamon hearts baked into it. It’s definitely a fiery whisky that can only be the devils work.
Compare to the official notes from Bowmore, the nose is described as “dark fruits, birch tar, the seductive warmth of old leather, brandy, fruitcake and maple syrup”. Birch tar? Who the heck is sniffing birch tar? I can pick out the old leather some but it’s more like an old leather jacket that’s been worn by someone that puts on a lot of spicy cologne. “Sip rich fruitcake, tarry chocolate, lingering dark fruits, tobacco and angelica root”. No idea what tarry chocolate is unless they mean the Terry’s chocolate oranges, which would make sense. I have never heard of angelica root until this day, but apparently I now know what it tastes like.
So would I buy it? It has too much cinnamon taste for my liking, I was never very fond of cinnamon heart candy, but if you do enjoy those go for it! I do love the touch of smoke that lingers and that acts as a uniter of all the flavours and smells happening in this whisky.