First released in 2007, Bowmore 15 year old "Darkest" is an Islay whisky that has initially been matured in bourbon casks before "finishing" off it's maturation in sherry casks.
This most recent release has spent the final 3 years of it's life in a Oloroso sherry cask which, according to the Bowmore website, gives Bowmore "Darkest" "the rich, deep colour reflected in its name..."
It has been bottled at 43% ABV and can be picked up online for around £50.
Bowmore is a distillery I'm beginning to enjoy more and more so when I received this sample as a gift from two fellow bloggers I was only too keen to see if my enjoyment would continue.
Onto my notes:
First thing I noticed was the fantastic colour of the whisky, maybe too good a colour?
Nose - Smoked orange, deep and dark with sherry goodness. Raisins, light gentle mixed spice, cinnamon, BBQ'd meat and char. Not too much earthy peat going on in here but more of a clean smoke note. Red fruits are fresh and juicy and it's clear the sherry cask has taken full effect. Great vibrancy about this whisky and there's extra wee notes of smoky bacon and dark toffee chews. Not too many coastal notes going on in this glass. With a touch of water a distinct burnt match smell comes through.
Palate - Sour, bitter arrival which is very smooth then the red fruits come back and again the juiciness is here in abundance. The smoke, which has now become a little more peaty, lurks in the background and never dominates although it is slightly acrid. Just to the end a little dusty wood comes apparent.
Finish - Medium and smooth with raspberry and spice.
Overall this is a solid whisky that still has room for improvement. The flavours are all present, and hugely enjoyable, but they could just do with being integrated a little better on the palate. I've no issues with the nose but Bowmore need to be careful not to overpower the classic peat and coastal notes in favour of the sherry, again further integration and gentle improvement.
At £50 I probably wouldn't buy this but could easily be tempted if it was on offer at around £40 or so. In addition this is a whisky I would watch closely over the next few years for the simple reason that, if they get the balance right, Bowmore could be onto a winner.
Huge thank you to @MashtunandMeow for the sample, cheers guys.
Until next time,