Bowmore’s 100 Degrees Proof; certifiably explosive!


Trophies (Photo credit: terren in Virginia)

It’s a bit of a bummer to find out that you’ve entered a competition and lost. It’s a major bummer to enter a competition, find out you’ve won, but have been dead for the fourteen years it took for the judges to adjudicate.

This historical irritation happened to poor Bartholomew Sikes, inventor of the hydrometer chosen as the victor by the British government in their 1802 search for a more accurate instrument to measure liquid density, or for distillation purposes, alcohol levels.

Grape-Shot: 1915 English magazine illustration...

Grape-Shot: 1915 English magazine illustration of a lady riding a champagne cork From The Lordprice Collection

His wife, on the other hand, probably wasn’t as bummed out as old Bart, who was likely kicking the inside of his coffin. She received the tidy sum of £2,000 for the rights to his invention. By 1818, when his hydrometer was finally adopted as the new legal standard of measurement, she was probably off in Monte Carlo living the good life and not bothering to measure anything about her alcohol–its density or debt-inducing abilities. Okay, that last sentence is entirely fictitious, but that’s just because I didn’t have time to thoroughly research the woman.

My version is kind of fun to think about though, yes?

The hydrometer (including those that existed before Bart’s big winner) was a welcome development, as previously, one tested the ‘proof’ of alcohol quantity in any given liquid by mixing it with gunpowder and setting it on fire. Yum. (Photo credit: Leeds Museums and Galleries)

Although results may have been dubious, it was said that if the liquid blazed, you could rest easy; you had your proof. If it flashed, your fusion was over proof. No fire? No good. Apparently, sailors in the Royal Navy had it down to a science when testing the daily rum rations. See? Science IS fun.

Bowmore Distillery, located on the beautiful island of Islay, has an expression that makes a nod in the direction of their age, and the antiquated method of determining the proof of a spirit. While Bowmore has moved on to more updated techniques for securing proof results, they still take pride in their long-established and time-honored methods creating truly great products.

Their 100 Degrees Proof small batch release single malt is no exception.

With the benefits of bottling at a higher alcohol strength—holding on to the spirit’s congeners, the flavor and aroma-bearing molecules, and having no need to chill-filter–you determine how much water you’d like to add to open up the beauty of this dram.

Oliver Cromwell, by Samuel Cooper (died 1672)....

Oliver Cromwell, by Samuel Cooper (died 1672).

(And it IS recommended that you add a touch of water to truly experience this whisky at its finest.)

A whisky so powerful and multifaceted, 100 Degrees Proof has proven it’s worthiness to me with each successive sip. This is a spirit that lives up to its name.

To borrow (and slightly alter) a phrase from Oliver Cromwell, I’d suggest you Trust in Bowmore and keep your powder dry.


Don’t forget to check out what’s cookin’ in the Scullery (here) and what I’ve been blethering on about this week in the main post (here).


4 thoughts on “Bowmore’s 100 Degrees Proof; certifiably explosive!

  1. ¡ que enteresante ! i had no idea. axually, it seems so silly, add gunpowder — “PrOOF !”
    but even tho’ i live/livid “in the desert” i will look for this …
    thanx !

    • Now, if only our science teachers back in grade school would have allowed experiments likes these, I’d likely have become the female version of Ira Glass or Bill Nye the Science Guy.

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