Bowmore 12 vs Laphroaig 10

Bowmore 12 vs Laphroaig 10 | which is best?

I’ve always been intrigued by the different flavours of Scotch. Bowmore 12 vs Laphroaig 10 is a battle between two excellent whiskies, but they have quite distinct characteristics that can make it difficult to decide which one is best. That’s why I decided to take an in-depth look at both whiskies and compare them side-by-side. In this article, I’ll be examining everything from aroma to finish to determine which one is superior. So if you’re looking for a definitive answer on whether Bowmore 12 or Laphroaig 10 should be your next purchase, then read on!

Bowmore and Laphroaig whiskies have been well-known to Scotch whisky enthusiasts for generations, garnering a plethora of accolades throughout their centuries-long existence. Both brands are revered not only by experts but also by the casual consumer, ensuring they remain top contenders in the industry.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at two of their most popular offerings: Bowmore 12 vs Laphroaig 10. Both scotches have made a name for themselves with their smoky and peaty flavours, causing whisky sippers from around the globe to be devoted fans of one or the other.

Bowmore and Laphroaig are legendary single malt whiskies hailing from the captivating Scottish Isle of Islay. For centuries, these remarkable beverages have produced a one-of-a-kind iodine taste due to their proximity to peat bogs and mineral-rich waters. The unmistakable flavour of Bowmore or Laphroaig will please any whisky connoisseur with its unique character that can only be found in Scotland’s ancient landscapes.

We’ll look at their flavour profiles, regions of origin, and pricing to help you make an informed decision. So, let’s see how Bowmore 12 vs Laphroaig 10 stack up.

Greyscale image of Bowmore whisky distillery on Islay

The Bowmore Distillery was founded in 1779 and is the oldest of the Islay distilleries. The Bowmore 12 was first launched in 1994 and is one of the most popular expressions from amidst their range.

History of the Bowmore distillery

The Bowmore distillery is steeped in centuries of history and has been producing some of the most acclaimed single malt Scotch whiskies for over two hundred years. Founded in 1779 by entrepreneur John P. Simson, Bowmore was the first distillery to be established on Islay and is today one of the island’s oldest whisky producers.

Bowmore went through a tumultuous period throughout the 19th century, but was purchased by entrepreneur Joseph Hobbs in 1923 and experienced some significant upgrades during his tenure. These changes included increasing its production capacity, new stills, and modernizing its malting process. The distillery continued to flourish under Hobbs, with sales steadily increasing over the next several decades.

After being acquired by Stanley P. Morrison Ltd in 1963, Bowmore once again underwent renovations which resulted in the installation of a steam-heated mash tun and an additional pair of stills (bringing the total to four). This expansion allowed for increased production capacity and greater efficiency.

Throughout its long history, Bowmore has consistently produced quality Scotch whiskies which have won numerous awards over the years. Winning Gold medals at both San Francisco World Spirits Competition and International Wine & Spirit Competition for its very popular 12-year expression. This recognition strengthens Bowmore’s place as a leader in Scottish whisky production and provides evidence that their commitment to excellence over two centuries hasn’t gone unnoticed!

What makes Bowmore processes different?

In contrast to most distilleries, Bowmore proudly retains its own Malt Barn. This ventilated enclosure is where the barley germination process commences and the starch inside each grain is converted into fermentable sugars.

To begin the process, our Maltmen steep raw barley in fresh water sourced from the nearby River Laggan for 27 hours. Then, they spread out the soaked grains across the stone floors of the Malt Barn and wait 24 hours until it’s ready to be turned — a crucial step that ensures aeration and coolness while keeping the germination rate slow and regular.

For six to seven days straight, without fail every four hours they turn damp barley with large wooden shovels – day or night. After this regimen is completed, the grain becomes known as “green malt” on account of its tiny sprouts emerging — at which point it must then travel to be kiln-dried!

Copper pot stills inside Bowmore whisky distillery
Copper pot stills inside Bowmore whisky distillery

By suspending germination and drying the barley in a kiln, it’s able to be milled it into a grist. Peat is used to fire the kiln giving Bowmore it’s the subtle smoky aroma.

The Laphroaig distillery dates back to 1815, when it was founded by brothers Alex and Donald Johnston. The distillery was originally called “Lagavulin” and produced a unique style of whisky which was quite different from the other malt whiskies of the time. 

In 1836, Donald Johnston sold the distillery to his nephew, Hugh and Donald’s son, John, who changed the name to “Laphroaig”, meaning “the beautiful hollow by the broad bay”. The distillery continued to produce whisky until 1867, when it was sold to the Mackie family. Under the Mackie family’s ownership, the distillery slowly grew in size and production, with the first single malt bottlings being released in the 1890s.

Related: What is peated whisky?

History of Laphoraig

Laphroaig is a world-renowned single-malt Scotch whisky distillery located on the picturesque island of Islay in Scotland. Founded in 1815, Laphroaig has been producing high-quality whisky for over two centuries and is one of the oldest operating distilleries on the island. The unique flavour profile and smoky aroma of their whiskies have earned them numerous awards throughout the years, solidifying their place as an industry leader.

Let’s explore how this iconic company came to be and what makes Laphroaig so special.

Laphroaig whisky is unique in its flavour profile, with a distinct smoky aroma that has been described as “medicinal,” with notes of seaweed and salt. This distinctive taste and smell come from the peat that is used to fire the kilns in which the malted barley is dried before being milled into a grist. Peat is a naturally-occurring material made up of partially decayed vegetation that has been compressed over centuries, making it an abundant resource on Islay. Its use adds complexity to Scotch whiskies and imparts strong smoky flavours.

In addition to using carefully sourced local peat, Laphroaig also utilizes other age-old production methods to craft their award-winning spirits. For example, during fermentation, casks are filled with beer made from malted barley and fresh spring water sourced from nearby Burns stream—which produces pure and intense flavours. Furthermore, the distillery’s stills are made entirely of copper, which helps refine its character by removing impurities from the whisky during distillation.

Copper spirit stills in Laphroaig distillery on Islay
Copper spirit stills in Laphroaig distillery on Islay

Laphroaig is also committed to traditional cask ageing techniques which allow the whisky to mature over time and develop additional layers of flavour complexity. It matures in special oak barrels for at least 10 years before it can be labelled as a “Ten-Year-Old” single malt Scotch whisky—which means that each bottle contains only whiskies aged for at least 10 years! The distillery even offers special limited edition bottlings where they pair whiskies aged at different times together in one bottle—allowing consumers a chance to sample their amazing range of flavours all in one go!

Given the combination of all these factors—including locally procured peat; traditional fermentation techniques; copper stills; and long ageing periods—it’s easy to see why Laphroaig has become so popular amongst whisky connoisseurs around the world. With every sip you can taste centuries of tradition in every drop, creating an experience like no other. Whether you’re just starting out exploring Scotch whisky or you’re an experienced enthusiast, you won’t want to miss out on this truly unique spirit!

Coastal smoke and ash soon make way for bergamot, orange zest, lemon slices and some hay before becoming rather floral, heather smoke now competing with the ash.

Close view of Bowmore 12 year old whisky beside rocks glass

Bowmore 12 tasting notes

Nose: Coastal smoke, ash, bergamot, orange zest, hay, lemon slices.

Palate: Rounded and lovely, honeyed even, vanilla, perfumed smoke, coastal elements, blossom, dark peat.

Finish: Long and smoky, dry grass, sea spray, touch of ash and citrus.

Price: $34 / £28

Flavour profile of Bowmore 12

Bowmore 12 is a single-malt Scotch whisky that has been produced at Bowmore Distillery, located on the Isle of Islay in Scotland. It is renowned for its complex flavour profile, which includes some smoky notes that come from the peat used during the barley kilning process.

The aroma of Bowmore 12 begins with a sweet and robust smokiness, reminiscent of a campfire burning on a cool evening. Toasty aromas of oak and charred wood emerge as well, along with subtle hints of heather and dark chocolate. On the palate, Bowmore 12 offers a smooth and sweet flavour with prominent notes of honey, caramel, toffee, and citrus zest. The finish is long and pleasant with more faint smokiness from the peat lingering throughout.

In addition to the smokey characteristics imparted by the peat in the malting process, Bowmore 12 also features notes of woody spices such as cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. There are also subtle herbal undertones from herbs like rosemary, thyme and oregano that help round out its complex flavour profile. Furthermore, this whisky has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 40%, which helps to bring out even more depth in its taste when it’s served neat or over ice.

Overall, Bowmore 12 is an exceptional whisky that showcases centuries-old tradition in every sip. Its unique combination of smokey aromas with sweet notes make it an ideal spirit to enjoy neat or as part of your favourite cocktail recipe!

Whisky food pairings: Bowmore 12

Bowmore 12 is an excellent whisky to pair with food, as its smoky and sweet flavour profile is sure to please the palate. Its notes of honey, caramel, toffee and citrus zest perfectly complement a variety of proteins, such as poultry, pork or seafood. For example, Bowmore 12 pairs wonderfully with grilled salmon, as the smoky flavours in the whisky bring out the natural sweetness of the fish.

Alternatively, Bowmore 12 can be used to add complexity to a cheese platter. The smokey flavour complements creamy cheeses like brie or camembert perfectly, while its subtle spice notes provide contrast and balance to sharper varieties like cheddar or blue cheese. Likewise, a rich and creamy dessert will also benefit from being paired with Bowmore 12.

For those looking for something a bit more savoury to pair with their Bowmore 12 whisky, it pairs well with charcuterie—especially smoked meats such as bacon or sausage. Salty snacks such as nuts are also enhanced by the whisky’s smokiness and sweetness when served alongside it.

Ultimately, Bowmore 12 is an incredibly versatile single-malt Scotch. With its unique mix of smokey aromas and sweet notes, this classic Islay whisky is sure to tantalize your taste buds no matter what you decide to pair it with.

Close upward view of Laphroaig 10 year old whisky bottle outside the Laphroaig distillery on Islay

Laphroaig 10 tasting notes

Nose: Strong smoky peat aroma with hints of spices and liquorice, as well as a salty undertone. Recently, it has become slightly sweeter and the classic iodine/sticking plasters and cool wood smoke blend together to create a pleasing bouquet.

Palate: Strong taste of seaweed, complemented by the sweet scent of vanilla ice cream. A faint smell of medical supplies such as TCP and plasters is also present. The oak is bold, and its flavour stands out on the palate. Hints of cardamom, black pepper, and chilli add an extra kick of spice.

Finish: The savoury, tarry notes gain intensity and develop a complex, iodine-like flavour as they become increasingly intense and dry.

Laphroaig 10 Price: $43 / £35

Flavour profile of Laphroaig 10

Laphroaig 10-year-old is a single-malt Scotch whisky really smoky and iodine rich. Laphroaig’s classic 10-year-old whisky is one of Scotland’s most profound and distinctive drams, famed for its medicinal flavourings. It really is the marmite of whiskies you either love it or hate it, there is certainly no room for indifference when Laphroaig is being discussed!

This whisky has been aged in oak casks for ten years, resulting in a deep amber colour, smoky and earthy aroma, and robust flavour profile.

The nose of Laphroaig 10-year-old reveals intense peat smoke along with subtle hints of vanilla, honey, and sea salt. Its unmistakable smokiness carries over to the palate as well as sweet notes of caramel, toffee, maple syrup and dried fruits like apricot and figs. There are also subtle flavours of leather, tobacco and oak that harmoniously blend with the other elements. All this is balanced by a long finish that is slightly dry with just enough peat lingering on the tongue to leave you wanting more.

In terms of ABV (alcohol by volume), Laphroaig 10-year-old is 40%, which helps bring out even more depth in its taste when it’s served neat or over ice. It also pairs wonderfully with food; its pungent smokiness compliments proteins such as steak or pork while its sweet flavours balance out sharper cheeses such as cheddar or blue cheese. Similarly, salty snacks like nuts are enhanced by the whisky’s smokiness while its sweetness complements desserts like crème brûlée or chocolate fondue.

Overall, Laphroaig 10-year-old is an exceptional Scotch whiskey that showcases centuries-old tradition in every sip. The combination of smokey aromas with sweet notes makes it an ideal spirit to enjoy neat or as part of your favourite cocktail. Its unique flavour profile makes it stand apart from other single-malt whiskies; try it today and discover why so many whisky lovers around the world have come to cherish this remarkable spirit!

What food goes well with Laphroaig 10 year old whisky?

Laphroaig 10-year-old is a single-malt Scotch whisky pairs wonderfully with a variety of foods.

The whisky’s pronounced peat smoke complements proteins like steak or pork extremely well, especially if they have been on the BBQ. The sweetness of the whisky also balances out sharper cheeses such as cheddar or blue cheese for an enjoyable whisky and cheese pairing. Salty snacks such as nuts are also elevated by the rich smoky aromas of Laphroaig 10-year-old—the sweetness adds depth to otherwise plain flavours.

When it comes to desserts, the sweet notes in the whisky make it an ideal partner for creamy treats such as crème brûlée as it will enhance the burnt caramel notes. It can also be used to enhance other savoury foods like grilled vegetables or even pizza. The smokiness adds complexity to dishes while the sweetness brings out subtle nuances in the food’s flavour profile.

Bowmore 12 vs Laphroaig 10

AspectBowmore 12Laphroaig 10
ColourWarm amberFull sparkling gold
NoseCoastal smoke, ash, bergamot, orange zest, hay, lemon slicesStrong smoky peat aroma with hints of spices and liquorice, as well as a salty undertone.
PalateRounded and lovely, honeyed even, vanilla, perfumed smoke, coastal elements, blossom, dark peat.Strong taste of seaweed, scent of vanilla ice cream. Medical supplies such as TCP and plasters are also present. Hints of cardamom, black pepper, and chilli.
FinishLong and smoky, dry grass, sea spray, touch of ash and citrus.The savoury, tarry notes gain intensity and develop a complex, iodine-like flavour as they become increasingly intense and dry
Rating7.5/107.9/10
Age1210
RegionIslayIslay
ABV40%40%
ClassificationSingle maltSingle malt
CaskAmerican OakAmerican Oak
Chill filteredYesYes
Price (USD/GBP)$34 / £28$43 / £35
Bowmore 12 vs Laphroaig 10 comparison table

Final thoughts

Which whisky is better Bowmore 12 vs Laphroaig 10?

Ultimately, when it comes to choosing between Laphroaig 10 and Bowmore 12, the decision is a highly subjective one that ultimately depends on personal preference.

For those looking for smokier whisky, Laphroaig 10 is a great choice. It’s intensely smoky with just the right amount of sweetness to balance out its bold flavour profile. The nose reveals intense peat smoke along with subtle hints of vanilla, honey, and sea salt. It pairs well with steak or pork as well as sharper cheeses like cheddar or blue cheese. It also makes an excellent addition to desserts like crème brûlée or chocolate fondue.

Bowmore 12 is another excellent single-malt Scotch whisky from Islay. It is much more complex than Laphroaig 10 and offers a unique blend of smokey aromas and sweet notes. It has been aged in oak casks for twelve years, resulting in a deep golden colour and an aroma that features peat smoke combined with dried fruits such as apricot and figs. It pairs beautifully with food; its pungent smokiness pairs well with charcuterie—especially smoked meats such as bacon or sausage. Similarly, salty snacks like nuts are enhanced by the whisky’s smokiness while its sweetness complements desserts like chocolate fondue.

In terms of ABV (alcohol by volume), Bowmore 12-year-old is 40%, which helps bring out even more depth in its taste when it’s served neat or over ice. Additionally, this whisky can be enjoyed with other classic cocktails such as an Old Fashioned without sacrificing any of its unique flavour profile.

At the end of the day, both Bowmore 12 and Laphroaig 10 are excellent single-malt whiskies that represent Scotland’s centuries-old tradition of crafting exquisite spirits. Whether you prefer the robust smokiness of Laphroaig 10 or the sweet complexity of Bowmore 12, you can be sure you will be indulging in Scotland’s finest!

Authors favourite

As an avid whisky lover, I have sampled a variety of single-malt whiskies from Scotland. Of all the Scotch whiskies I’ve tried, the Laphroaig 10 year old holds a special place in my heart. But I’m an unadulterated lover of peat, I adore the smokiness and complexity that it brings to a dram.

This legendary Islay whisky has been aged for ten years in ex-bourbon casks and offers an extraordinarily smoky and sweet flavour profile that makes it stand out among its peers. Its intense peat-smoke aroma combined with subtle notes of vanilla, honey, and sea salt make it a truly unique experience that can be enjoyed neat or as part of your favourite cocktail. In my opinion, when compared to Bowmore 12 year old whisky, Laphroaig 10 is simply superior!

Sláinte.

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