Cigar Aficionado

Bowmore Leaves the Naming to You

Drinkers are used to naming their brand at the bar, but not often do they get the chance to actually put a name on the bottle. Yet that’s what the makers of Bowmore single-malt Scotch whisky allows its fans to do with a naming contest for its newly released 10-year-old set, which is coming to the United States in the fall.

Because of a labeling snafu, Bowmore is compelled to change the name of its Tempest Small Batch Release. The whisky, which is already selling thoughout the rest of the world, would be in trademark infringement in the U.S. because another adult beverage has previously registered the name Tempest here. Therefore the company is asking the public to vote via its Facebook page ( from a choice of two names.

Even without the drama, the whisky is a must-taste. Smokier than most Bowmores, it, nevertheless, is infused with layers of nuts and fruits that leave a lasting impression. To boot, it makes an outstanding cigar partner.

Most of the whisky for the batch was aged in Bowmore’s fabled No. 1 Vaults, which is located below sea level on the coast of the island of Islay, west of Scotland’s mainland and north of Ireland. Dark and damp, its aging conditions have produced outstanding whiskies like the Black Bowmore, which like the new whisky is aged in first-fill Bourbon barrels.

The name Tempest conjured up the stormy, sea-pounded atmosphere so often encountered on Bowmore’s shores. The new name choices reflect that as well. They are Dorus Mor (a Gaelic word for the unpredictable and rough water around Islay) and Whirlpool (which describes a swirling body of water produced by the meeting of opposing currents). Tempest will continue to be the whisky’s name outside the U.S.

Ballots will be accepted until May 18. Those who vote for the winning name will automatically be entered into a drawing for a bespoke, tailored Bowmore tweed Jacket. The fabric is hand woven by Islay mill in the Bowmore tartan and the blazer, usually reserved for Bowmore ambassadors will be hand- tailored.

Bowmore (Your Name Here) Aged 10 Years Small Batch Release (112 proof, or 56 percent alcohol, $119.99)

APPEARANCE: Light to medium, rich brass colors with tight, thin snail’s pace legs.

NOSE: Surprisingly little smoke on the nose, but lots of honey and hard candy and a strong dose of nougat with menthol around the edges.

PALATE: Its youth would lead you to think lots of strong, peaty notes with iodine, but its smoke comes off as toast and roasted nuts. Once that dissipates, fruits and candy explode in a complex mix that includes apricots as well as tropical fruit, plus more nuts and toast.

FINISH: The end is very warming with more of that nougat, but as it comes back it telegraphs the fruits of the palate, particularly tangerine. (Note: It also makes a mind-scrambling High Ball with seltzer water.)


La Reloba Selección Sumatra Torpedo (92 points, Cigar Aficionado, No. 20 Cigar of the Year)
The whisky burrows into the cigar, finding its own nuttiness and nougat flavors. The cigar gives back by pronouncing the fruit of the whisky, especially that apricot note.

Illusione Eperney Le Taureau (94 points, Cigar Aficionado, No. 3 Cigar of the Year)
The cigar becomes more nuanced and balanced and enhances the passion fruit notes in the Scotch.