Bowmore Enigma is a 12 year-old dram originally bottled for travel retail, and boasts a higher proportion of sherry-matured malt in its make-up. A full-bodied dram, Enigma's colour is darker and the whisky itself is sweeter than the standard 12 year-old, with compensating robust smokiness and a hint of brine.
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Picked it on the ferry back from France, thought it a bargain... Perhaps it wasn't after all, as a bit disappointed with smooth & soft taste, for very little peat and punch. Not a bad whisky though so guess it's a matter of taste, and mine lies more towards the heavily peated stuff...
- Pollux, 28th August
Not good. So disappointed with this Bowmore. It's the kind of offering that questions the values the top level in marketing this.
- anonymous, 11th Oct '13
This whisky gets bad press from Jim Murray (Whisky Bible 2013) but I'm with the majority of reviewers here. It's smooth and just the right mix of sweet and peat! I believe that this expression is only sold as Duty Free, hence all the mentions of people buying when travelling.
- Kneeboy, 24th May '13
I had a few bottles of Bowmore in my times, the last one was "Surf". It was Ok, but for some reason I got the Enigma on my last business trip - it is so much better, and so smooth I couldn't believe it's a 12 years old. I like the hint of sweatness that goes with the smokiness, and a great long aftertase prolonging the experience. One of the best 12 year old whiskeys, and the price I payed was ridiculous!
- Yori, 8th Mar '13
Great value whisky. I can't believe this whisky isn't better known. I have always been impressed by Bowmore and always surprised at the lowly attitude toward it of the professional whisky critics.
Their loss, this is fabulous, smokey and honey sweet whisky with a few nice taste and sensory tricks up its sleeves.
- Jimmy Two Fingers., 19th Nov '12
I gambled on this because I was once called an 'enigma' by my CO whilst in the Navy. I normally give Bowmore a wide-berth given the inconsistent reviews of their more common lines. Very glad I bought this. Absolutely lovely. Everything you could want from an Islay - a nice sherry sweet opening, followed by the right amount of smokey peatiness, which is cut by a nice salty/citrusy tang.
Granted it's not quite the Lagavulin 16, but then not much is unless you're spending £60+...
- Simon, 18th Apr '12
was a little disappointed with this one to be honest. Thats not to say its not a good whisky, it just that i expected a lot more sherry. You can definitely smell the sherry and taste it slightly but its not that much different than the standard 12 year old. This is still a good whisky as i think the bowmore 12 year old is one of the best, just not what i hoped for.
- mark saunders, 28th Mar '12
One nice whisky hard to forget, trust Single Malt ever since.
- Ran 1st Nov
- anonymous, 1st Nov '11
We found this as most do - at the airport, wondering how "Enigma" was better than the normal one (it's certainly better than "Legend" that seems to be everywhere). We carried the bottle up Mount Everest and it was the only thing to keep us sane and to look forward to! Just enough peat, a touch of honey and salt. Visited the distillery this year and out of about the five others I tasted, this was still by far the best. Don't miss it!
- GW, 26th Jul '11
personally the key word here is smooth and - throw in another - balanced. And while im at it: elegant, diplomatic, sustained and superbly spiced, oh and expertise with wood was like music for my ears...and tastebuds. Classic, understated yet characterful stuff!
- anonymous, 25th Jul '11
Picked this one up from the airport too...very nice rich and sweet sherry flavours followed by the distinctive yet slightly toned down smoke and peat that we are accustomed to appreciate from Islay. Much smoother than I had first anticipated. Great value, and in my opinion more than just drinkable.. in fact rathwer pleasant. Verdict: Highly Recommendable!!
- anonymous, 17th Jul '11
Picked it up on the ferry home, perfect to have with salmon on the table!
- anonymous, 22nd Jun '11
I was given this as a gift and i like it although i think it tries a bit too hard to be all things to all men. Certainly a softer and more drinkable dram than the signature stuff (which i was never all that keen on to start with) but for £40 i'd still rather buy a 70cl bottle of Lagavulin. Just depends what you're looking for though.
- anonymous, 6th Mar '11
A very pleasant dram. Very smooth, sophisticated, and easy to drink. Rich warm sherry edge, with dry fruity notes, coupled with a delicious smokey edge, although not overpowering at all. A great bottle for those still new to Islay Malts, with a nice mellow introduction to the smoke associated with the beautiful West cost Isle!
- anonymous, 4th Nov '10
To the above review: I had a similar experience, just picked it up at the airport randomly (it was between this and a Cragganmore) and immediately loved it. Perfect balance between the peat and smoke of Islay and the sweetness from the sherry. Nice rich flavours - both powerful and subtle, more complex than the standard 12 year-old Bowmore. It's quickly becoming one of my favourite whiskies.
- Manu, 14th Jul '10
absolutely fantastic for the price! picked it up at the airport as a sort of 'lucky dip' :) and it was a jackpot. I love it, nice rich flavor, full of smoke - while at the airport pick one up, you will thank me later :P
- dasir, 24th May '10
The enigma is well-flavored, delicious, smooth and well-worth the cost.
- Michael Dean Lewis, 29th Jul '09
A great value purchase from the travel retail range. This integrates the signature Bowmore smoky, honeyed flavours with a subtle overlay of sherry. Works well and shows true expertise with wood.
- davey boy, 2nd May '09
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