Quick Review – Bowmore Legend

The other day, Little Bitty Bits and I were at our local upscale pizza joint (the kind that serves individual pizzas with fancy toppings).  The place has a little single malt selection that isn’t the worst ever – Glenlivet 12, Glenlivet 15, Glenmorangie Original, Macallan 12, Lagavulin 16 and the Bowmore Legend.  Now, by this visit, I had tried each of those whiskies aside from the the last two.  And from my reading up on whisky in the last few months, here is what I know about them: they are both Islays, the Lagavulin is beloved by many as a great peaty whisky, and the Legend is known for being one of the cheapest good whiskies around.

Faced with this decision, you have to understand two things about me.  First, I am a wimp.  The murderer’s row of Laphroig, Ardbeg, Caol Ila and the like scare me.  Well, they don’t scare me scare me.  I just have a difficult time seeing myself enjoying something that people describe as having the taste of campfire.  Second, I am cheap.  Most of the other pours at this place had run me $9 or $10, and I was hoping to maybe give the wallet a slight break (in the end, though, I think they still charge $8.50 for the Legend).

So as the post title shows, I went with the Legend.  Here are my notes.  They are short and sweet, because drinking this whisky is a pretty short and sweet experience.  On the nose, this reminds me a lot of Johnny Walker Black – a little hit of smoke and some citrus-y sweetness in back.  On the palate, it is very light bodied – almost watery.  Again, you get a little puff of smoke and then a light taste of honey.  Then the show’s over.

Reading back, it sounds like I might have been a little too harsh.  This is a pretty straightforward whisky, not a peat monster.  And it easily passes my “are you pouring it down the drain” test.  It is just … simple.  But for $26 a bottle, I wouldn’t fault anyone on a budget for using it as their go-to Tuesday night sipper.

Really, though, the whole reason for posting this review is so that I can show you this video that I recently stumbled across.  I was on Youtube, checking out some videos by the great Ralfy, and I somehow found an additional review of Bowmore Legend.  I just couldn’t have been more entertained.  Enjoy:

My favorite part of blogging is when some of my visitors talk whisky in the comments.  Almost to a person, they know more than me about the subject, so it is a great learning experience.  So I’ll open it up to you – what are your picks for great whisky values?

I’ll start with a few picks of my own.  Two bottles that I quite enjoy for under $35 locally are Glenmorangie Original and Old Pulteney 12 (WW reviews both upcoming ) (and actually, if I had to settle on just one value bottle, OP12 might be the one).  A couple of dollars higher, and I’m coming to realize that I am all about Highland Park 12 (at $41).

For another data point, we can look to Ryan’s Value Whiskey Reviews.  For his highest value rating, he also lists the Highland Park 12, and also highlights Talisker $10, at $48 per.  What say you, good readers?

Quick Reviews – Random 12 Year Old Edition

A quick post to give a rundown on a few of the whiskies that I’ve tried recently while out for dinner with Little Bitty Bits.  All happen to be 12 year olds, largely because I’m poor and the selections at these establishments are rather weak.  Two standards and one less popular.

Glenlivet 12 Year Old

Anyone ever tried this before?  Yeah, I thought so.  Nonetheless, this was my first time.  I had previously tried Glenfiddich 12, which I did not enjoy, and since I automatically lump Glenfiddich and Glenlivet into the same category, my expectations were less than sky high.  In the end, though, I was pleasantly surprised.  On the nose, the big flavor is apple.  Very light and somewhat floral as well.  An enticing nose.  On the palate, the apple comes through with all kinds of baking flavors.  In two tastings, I wrote down: apple, cinnamon, buttery baked good, brown sugar, and buttered toasted nuts.  All flavors that I like.  Relatively short on the finish, but this undoubtedly wins the battle of the popular 12 year old Glens.

Macallan 12 Year Old

Another well known dram that I hadn’t yet tried.  As I mentioned in an earlier comment on this blog, the Macallan 12 reminded me of the Balvenie DoubleWood, which isn’t the highest praise (for my tastes).  On the nose, that sherry hits you.  There is also some kind of Amaretto flavor as well, and then a pretty big blast of heat.  On the palate, it starts very smooth, and then turns up the heat.  A very large flavor.  Some early cherry flavor which evolves into a darker fruit and spice.  A finish that lingers.  I can see why people like this, but it just isn’t my thing.

Cragganmore 12 Year Old

I was excited to see this offered last night at a new restaurant that LBB and I tried.  The bar there had a quite eclectic selection of whiskies – not necessarily extensive, but just a handful of less common bottles.  One was the Cragganmore 12, which was on my “to try” list.  This whisky literally has the lightest nose that I’ve smelled.  Jamming my nose deep into the glass, all I got was a very light “whisky” flavor (if that makes any sense, which it doesn’t).  On the palate, it is light bodied but flavorful.  I get a little wisp of smoke, a fair amount of brine (reminding me a bit of Old Pulteney 12), and something like toasted walnut.  More interesting flavor than I was expecting on the nose.  Not necessarily something that I’ll look to purchase a bottle of, however.