Early 90s Bowmore 12 Review

Thanks to a kind reader I was able to fill out a second week of Bowmore for y’all which we’ll be kicking off with this sample of early 90s Bowmore 12. Distilled in 1979 the whisky in this sample was bottled in 1991 and don’t let the sample label trick you, this is an OB, but it certainly doesn’t taste like an OB. It tastes more like an IB which begs the question… what are they doing?

I did get some of that floral soap notes that are a signature of the FWP era of Bowmore, but it’s light. What’s more important here though is what I didn’t get, I didn’t find any of the burnt-hazelnut-meets-metal note that I get in modern Bowmore OBs and instead I got more of the nice fruits, malt and sweet notes that I find in many of the IBs. For further details hop on down to the early 90s Bowmore 12 review below!

Early 90s Bowmore 12 Info

Region: Islay, Scotland

Distiller: Bowmore
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: ex-bourbon
Age: 12 Years (1979 – 1991)
ABV: 43%

Price: NA – Auction, Specialty Store or Private Seller

Early 90s Bowmore 12 Review


Apple, honey, malt, graham, grapefruit, saline, tangerine, peat and a touch of spice. It’s like a slightly malty fruit salad that’s balanced between citrus and orchard fruits.

Tangerine, honey, grapefruit, malt, vanilla and just a bit of caramel, spice and peat. It’s a warm rich flavor with only the meerest hint of soap.

Long fruity fade of citrus, honey, orchard fruit, malt and a touch of smok and soapy fade..

Great sense of balance, medium body and a velvety feel.

Early 90s Bowmore 12 is good… really good. Even though the peat is nearly nonexistent this is something I would love to come home and drink any day of the week because of the fruit notes. My favorite category of fruit is citrus; I love tangerines, grapefruits, lemons, limes, etc. and the only category of whisky that ever truly hits those notes is Isaly Scotch when the peat has receded like it has here.

Whether it’s because they’ve been in the bottle or the barrel long enough for the peat to fade to the background doesn’t matter because it almost always reveals these nice citrus notes you don’t get anywhere else and I really enjoy them when I do. That said this Early 90s Bowmore 12 doesn’t contain the depth and robustness to get it to the next level, but it’s the epitome of a tasty daily drinking Bowmore.

SCORE: 89/100 (B+)

*Big thanks to Harold for the Early 90s Bowmore 12 sample!

Early 90s Bowmore 12 Label

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