The whisky scene is liek a transforming and living entity. More and more drams come out from distilleries and more of those are being sold around the world. The demand for new and exciting packages is high. Thus, the distilleries are producing a lots of limited editions, rare bottling and small batches. Bowmore has done many travel retail / low cost bottling in history, so this is not a surprise.
In their web page they say the following “Exclusively matured in first and second fill ex bourbon casks, then blissfully married together, Small Batch exhibits the best qualities of both. First-fill bourbon offers delicious vanilla sweetness, subtle spices and bourbon oak smoke to complement Bowmore's gentle peaty smokiness, while the second-fill cask enhances Bowmore's fresh fruity complexity and showcases its trademark honey and creamy malt character. “ The source: http://www.bowmore.com/whiskies/small-batch/
This dram is aimed as a entry level drink. You can tell it by a price (low), exclusive looking package and words like balanced. Of course there is nothing wrong with that, except perhaps that if you get deep into whiskies you will encounter a lots of these. Some maybe good too.
The nose has a lots of Bowmore in it. The lemon pepper and slight peatiness (on my scale) combined with spices. The spiciness comes out strongly here but the nose could be more balanced.
The palate strikes with salt, citrus and spice. There is some peat too, but I can’t say this is a soft dram. It has a strong taste, yes, but mostly about spices and bitterness. The second sip is better one than the first, but it is very single dimensional experience today. The first time I tasted this, I’d had a few drinks before so it tasted a lot better back then. Perhaps this would suit nicely at a bar, to enjoy with some conversation. On a third sip some oiliness emerges, with more sweet ingredients. Citrus and spice is what remains here for me, not peat and smoke.
Then would you buy this one? It depends what you are after. A bottle to hotel room on a trip? Definitely yes, beats blended malts easily. This would also work in a tasting nicely, to bring out spice and citrus contrast. But don’t buy this if you are after a strong smoky and peaty dram, because then you will be disappointed. Not my favorite, but I’ve had a lot worse too.