For all the woes that the pandemic has brought, one of the silver linings in that dark cloud has been the increase in innovative, digital, creative, collaboration.
Regularly hitting the scotch headlines during this time has been Bowmore’s design collaboration with Aston Martin (see the review of their 22yo Master’s Selection here) but they are also sporting a fantastic visual partnership with revered Glasgow graphic artist Vincent Deighan, better known as Frank Quitely. [ed: the amount of times that I have seen or read the name as Quite Frankly is astounding!]
In 2021 their collaboration began with a pair of single malts called “No Corners To Hide” which depicted a tale of the devil’s trip to Islay via a 23yo and 32yo couplet of releases. In 2022, Quitely was brought on hand again, this time to illustrate the Islay folklore tale of The Changeling. This saw a pair of new single malts unleashed: a 22yo and a 33yo. Here we explore the elder form of The Changeling!
The story of The Changeling involves a blacksmith who finds his son in a comatose state, only to be informed by a local wise man that the body was in fact a changeling and his actual son was captured by fairies. Following an epic rescue mission, the son returns with powers from the fairy folk, which he then uses to bring the family good fortune.
This single malt has spent 31 and a half years in a bourbon barrel before being finished for its final 18 months in Tawny Port casks. Limited to 667 bottles, this captured at 48.7% ABV and is available via travel retail markets for around £2,400-3,000 per bottle.
Surprisingly vibrant and floral. Far more so than expected. When I say floral, I really mean floral too: it’s really light, with a perfume like pungency – think pot pourri, rose water, and Turkish Delight. Some little wood notes beyond the flowery cloud with some sandalwood and even some fresh oak smells, despite its tenure.
That pungent perfume note starts up on the lips and with the ABV and oak spice it then really zips straight across the tongue and fills the mouth with a floral sherbet sweetness that really bring parma violets to mind. It’s lavender, sugar, and heat. They’re joined by tropical fruits (pineapple, guava, and clementine) and a bitter clove and/or anise spice.
The perfume/sherbet note fizzles away and a final sweet nutty note remains that reminds me of marzipan.
Something of an oddity. Like the existence of the Changeling itself. If you are a fan of Turkish Delight then you will bloody love this. That is, unfortunately, not to my taste however.
What I did love about this though, is that it is a reminder that peat fades with time. It was a total curveball, and yet, like I say after many films with “those” plot twists, I should have seen it coming.
The earthy, smoky, and briny notes are almost gone in favour of super sweet and floral flavours. Pot pourri and parma violets are two notes that originally I wrote down for the nose, the taste, and the finish.
This was tasted as part of a spectacular year end tweet tasting bonanza organised by Steve Rush @TheWhiskyWire and The Changeling was really loved by some, but I was far more enamoured by the 22yo Masters Selection (see notes for that here).
When it comes to price, £2400 is (unfortunately) becoming more and more common these days for a bottle of a big name single malt scotch whisky carrying this sort of age. For that kind of money you would want something truly astronomical. If floral whiskies and Turkish Delight are your thing, then that’s what you’ll get.
Sample disclosure: This sample and the beer were received as part of a Bowmore Tweet Tasting event run by The Whisky Wire. All notes are intended as an honest, fair, and independent review of the whisky and beer, and not as a promotion. Please drink responsibly. Please drink wisely.
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