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How To Turn Ardbeg Into Bowmore

by Oliver Klimek on April 6, 2014

Many of you will have heard about the FWP (“French Whore Perfume”) phenomenon of some Bowmores distilled in the 1980s, a floral, perfumy, sometimes even soapy aroma that many feel repelled by. In tasting notes for these whiskes, you can often note the mention of Parma Violets, an English sweet made by Swizzels Matlow. And sometimes this even shows up in tasting notes for more recent bottlings of Bowmore.

I had always been wanting to try them, but somehow I didn’t get around to do it, despite several visits to the UK in recent years. But from reading the tasting notes and my own Bowmore experiences I knew exactly how they should taste.

A while ago, a long-time blog reader made me a little present and sent me a few rolls of mini Parma Violets by mail. And alas, they really rasted like I expected. I have to confess that the taste of the Parma Violets did not make me an instant fan, so I did not eat all of them.

DSC_0239But now a cunning plan sprang into my mind. Shouldn’t it be possible to “fake” a FWP-infested Bowmore by adding powderized Parma Violets to a peated Islay whisky from a different distillery?

Using my trusty stone mortar I proceed and mixed a small amount (about half a tablet) into a dram of Ardbeg Uigeadail.

And, lo and behold, it worked!

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The amount was just right to add the typical perfumed flavour to the Ardbeg. Even a slight soapiness could be detected. I am positively certain that many whisky geeks would take this for a Bowmore, if they were given this in a blind tasting. The taste was actually quite nice, but I belong to the minority of people who do not feel strongly offended by FWP Bowmores.

Unfortunately the powdered Parma Violet made the whisky turn cloudy, so the effect of serving this to an unsuspecting victim would be nullified.

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Anyone would immediately see that this whisky had been tampered with. But anyone in possession of these sweets is invited to repeat this little experiment to experience the effect themselves.

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