We recently partook in a scotch and sailing expedition. Yes, you heard that correctly. Scotch and sailing. Bowmore scotch to be exact. And, it was a blast!
The sail took place on a warm and balmy day in San Francisco. You also heard that one correctly. In San Francisco, our summer happens in September and October when the fog recedes. The day happened to be one of those lovely days! Clear blue skies, sun shining bright in the sky and calm seas. That was a lucky thing. Otherwise, I don’t think that the generous amounts of Bowmore Punch and free flowing Bowmore 12 would have gone down as well. The sail was enhanced by Johnny the Scot, the Bowmore ambassador who regaled us with stories and antecedents on the voyage.
If the sail wasn’t enough, we disembarked at The Slanted Door, an amazing Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco, for a Bowmore and food pairing event that capped off the day of sailing. The first pairing was a local oyster paired with Bowmore 12. It was a tasty combination. You added a drop of scotch to the oyster, slurped it and then added a fair amount to the remaining oyster juice, which was then drunk. The second pairing was Bowmore 18 paired with uni and avocado. The Bowmore 18 was sublime, as was the uni (which I am not usually a huge fan of). The third pairing was Bowmore 15 paired with a homemade almond joy. Then, a nightcap of Bowmore 25.
The pairings were phenomonal, bringing out the best in both the scotch and the food. The oysters and scotch were amazing. In fact, I may serve oysters with a Bowmore mignette at my next party. The controlled peat and salinity of the Bowmore 12 enhanced the salty brine of the oyster. Honestly, you could do a cocktail of Bowmore 12 with oyster juice over the rocks. The Bowmore 18 and uni pairing was my favorite. The Bowmore 18 had a delicacy with sherry notes and muted peat (the most muted of the four Bowmores that we tried, even more than the 25). Those notes riffed off the delicacy and flavors of the sea that uni imbibes. The Bowmore 15 was more masculine with enhanced sherry and peat, which contrasted with the almond, nugget and coconut, resulting in a flavor explosion. The Bowmore 25 was a surprise. After the delicacy of the Bowmore 18, I expected the Bowmore 25 to follow the same path. It didn’t. Instead, it turned the other way. It amped up the manliness and brawn. The peat was back and the sherry was more in your face. It was delicious, more in line with the Bowmore 12 and 15, just unexpected.
Bowmore was established in 1779 on the Isle of Islay in Scotland (Islay scotch is known for its peat). The distillery offers a selection of single malt scotches, that display the peaty essence of Islay but without being known as peat monsters. The distillery is owned by Suntory.