Age: No age statement
Named after the fairly obscure ‘Black Rock of Islay’, this whisky forms part of Bowmore’s coastal themed Travel Exclusive range (the other two expressions being Gold Reef and White Sands). Medium peated and finished in ex-Oloroso sherry casks, this whisky strikes a balance between gentle smoke and a subtle sweetness.
Nose: Salty and lightly smoky, but not medicinal. Aromas of walnut and cereal blend with the scent of smoked kippers. Citrusy orange notes give way to toffee and brown sugar, as well as a subtle vegetative character.
Palate: Light bodied and sharp. Toasted barley mingles with cigar smoke and a whiff of white pepper. Then a fruitier flavour palette opens up, with notes of apricot and orange marmalade, as well as a hint of cinnamon.
Finish: Medium in length and again quite sharp. Dried fruit develops into a thick but gentle smokescreen. The aftertaste is salty, and somewhat bitter, with a lingering smokiness.
Verdict: This is another NAS bottling about which I have mixed feelings. It is nice that Bowmore has provided Black Rock with a sherry finish for some extra complexity, but it also tastes a bit thin. We are given no clues about the age of this whisky, but my best guess it that it is rather young. While this works well for other heavily peated Islay whiskies, Bowmore does not quite manage to pull it off here. However, given the relatively modest price tag of this dram, it could still be a good buy, as you get decent quality compared to what you pay for.