Bowmore Fèis Ìle 2024 & Lagavulin Fèis Ìle 2024


We're looking at a few of the distillery releases from  Fèis Ìle 2024 that we haven't reviewed yet, including Lagavulin & Bowmore.

Bowmore Fèis Ìle 2024

Region: Islay

ABV: 54.8%

Price: £200.00 

For the Bowmore Fèis Ìle 2024 bottling, the distillery released an 19-year-old whisky that was additionally matured in virgin oak casks. A total of 3,500 bottles were released for sale exclusively at the distillery.

Nose

On the nose, the dram opens with notes of burnt toffee, caramel, hops, toasted marshmallows, dried lemons, fig juice, fresh plastic, and blackcurrant jam. There is very little alcohol or spice here. Revisiting the nose brings out additional notes of orange marmalade, burnt toast, Vegemite, chocolate, and just a hint of ash. Being honest, Bowmore would not have been our first guess here.

Palate

The palate is distinctly ashy, with a significantly more noticeable presence of smoke than the nose. Behind the smoke there's a very heavy notes of toffee and crème brûlée, but this is quickly overshadowed by a fair amount of spice, including sweet chili jam and raw ginger. That spice dominates on the medium length finish. The mouthfeel is passable, but the spice is really distracting us. Similarly to the nose we’re not getting quintessential Bowmore here.

Nose (with water)

With the addition of water, the nose gains a bit more ash but still prominently features toffee, fudge, and caramel notes. Additional aromas of raisins emerge, alongside sponge cake, tobacco, and brown sugar.

Palate (with water)

Adding water to the palate helps with the spice and heat, though there’s still too much spice on the finish. There is also a slight bitterness reminiscent of orange rind or grapefruit appearing. The ash and sweeter flavours are reduced, and the mouthfeel has become watery. As we sit with it the palate shifts towards more simplistic white sugar cubes and vanilla pod notes.

Conclusion

Virgin oak casks can be difficult to work with and it feels like this is a good example of that. The virgin oak finish has overpowered the spirit and created something a little too spicy for our tastes. We also finding the palate and nose are a touch disjointed. There are better Bowmore whiskies out there.

Score: 6.5/10

Value

The price is in line with lasts years superior festival release.


Lagavulin Fèis Ìle 2024

Region: Islay

ABV: 56.7%

Price: £175.00

For the Lagavulin Fèis Ìle 2024 bottling, the distillery released an 10-year-old whisky that was peated to a higher level than the distillery’s usual offering and was matured in refill, heavily charred and first fill ex-Bourbon American oak hogsheads. A total of 1,800 bottles were released for sale.

Nose

The nose is beginnings with buttery croissants, dry earth, fresh tar, kelp, and concrete, alongside a slight hint of antiseptic. Upon revisiting, the dram evolves to include bonfire smoke, cashew nuts, white spirit, burnt toast, lime zest, and sugar paste. This nose is big, bold, and peaty, yet it remains nicely balanced with an underlying sweetness.

Palate

The palate closely mirrors the nose, featuring dry earth, ash, and bonfire smoke, complemented by sugar paste, caramel syrup, and honeycomb. There are also notes of dry straw, dry roasted peanuts, and walnuts. The spice comes through as ginger and cinnamon sticks. Upon revisiting, additional flavours emerge, such as nut oil and mint tea, along with a slight meatiness reminiscent of beef stock or beef gravy. The finish is medium in length, with the sweet and peaty notes lingering.

Nose (with water)

Adding water to the nose brings out a musty note, reminiscent of an unventilated room. The profile becomes more savoury and meaty as we sit with it. The lime zest note remains present. There’s also ash, a hint of antiseptic, the scent of burnt embers, vanilla essence, and whipped cream However, the overall nose is somewhat muted now.

Palate (with water)

Adding water to the palate tames the spice while preserving the ash and smoky notes. The nutty notes are less pronounced, but there is an abundance of citrus and caramel flavour’s that come to the forefront. The mouthfeel remains good, as does the finish.

Conclusion

This is quite an interesting dram that offers a good mix of flavours on the nose and palate for a young whisky. We’d have pegged this as Lagavulin, and don’t really notice the extra PPM, but that’s no bad thing as what’s here is pretty good.

Score: 7.5/10

Value

This unfortunately is the less positive part of the review. The price of this one is ridiculous.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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