The follow-up batch of Bowmore Tempest is still drawn from 1st fill ex-bourbon casks – though this time with no indication (that I can find) of the number of bottles within the batch. Likely a large number.
Nose: Flamed lemon peels and split vanilla pods are joined by sunflower oil, shale and sun-cracked earth. Hay and dried reeds sit with oatcakes whilst gentle mossy peat smoke is joined by a wire wool-like metallic aside. Water uncovers a deeper, less clean composition alongside tangy minerality – greases and lubricants together with tobacco leaves, hewn granite and sandy rock pools.
Taste: An effective, full arrival that’s far from hostile. Overt ashiness and mentholated oak is joined by vanilla, white pepper and cask-forward cinnamon. Rocky minerality from shingle and pebbles is tempered by cough syrupy whilst sappy oak sits with pine needles and burnt leaves. Dilution adds fruitiness and sweetness – sugar-sprinkled grapefruit segment and juicy lemons together with barley water and crackerbread.
Finish: Quite long with smouldering vegetation, plenty of cask char and a final dash of burnt mint leaf.
Bowmore Tempest Small Batch Release No.2 offer a more cask-forward experience than its forerunner – but its heart and soul are unsurprisingly still on a very similar page. Whilst (particularly when tasted simultaneously with Release No.1) the overall profile and palette remain in largely familiar territory, there’s more wallop here – more oakiness, and more smokiness. But simply having more of something doesn’t necessarily make it better. And indeed Batch 2 - whilst still both highly characterful and enjoyable, is lacking the pristine balance and clarity that made the maiden release so immediately likable and memorable.