Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Bowmore - Magic Happens on the Darkest Nights

Paul Young and his
hot chocolates
The rain lashed down as we waited solemnly outside the dilapidated house, a poe-faced woman ticked our names off a guarded list then swung the knocker at the hefty door. We paused with bated breath until the door creaked open and we were welcomed into a less ominous interior with a warming cocktail (fig syrup and Bowmore Darkest garnished with raisins). As canapes of venison and others of smoked salmon all served on crisp bruchetta were passed around Dickie, the owner of this Dickensian property, welcomed us and regaled us with stories of ghosts and the Isle of Islay. Without further ado our chaperone hurried us upstairs and tea cups thrust into our tepid hands.

The atmosphere warmed as the terrific Paul Young of that there Paul A Young Fine Chocolates served the best and most luxurious hot chocolate I have ever tasted with a Bowmore truffle to match! Time was of the essence and we hurried downstairs for more stories from Bowmore, sadly a true resident of Islay would only offer a full bottle of whisky to a guest which meant that half-full bottle remained half-full. Next we dashed to the top floor for a glance at the night sky then across to the bedroom of the women in the attic who, through a display of sheet scrunching and nervous twitches, recited a poem of Smoky the cat, Bowmore's mysterious feline resident.

A little disturbed we were passed elderflower drinks to settle us before we trooped down into the cellar, into a replica of Bowmore's famous No. 1 Vault for the final phase of the evening. A tasting of the bourbon-cask Bowmore 12, a refreshing dram with a pleasant touch of peat, and the evening's headline act, the Bowmore Darkest, a warming smoky malt perfect for windswept moors or rain lashed streets. So here's to Bowmore, Islay's oldest distillery and a marvellous host!