Bowmore 15 years Darkest (70cl 43%)
Like that first sweet waft of anticipation on opening a bar of chocolate. “Darkest” has long been part of the Bowmore range, but it is in...read more
Like that first sweet waft of anticipation on opening a bar of chocolate. “Darkest” has long been part of the Bowmore range, but it is in recent years, since acquiring a 15-year age-statement, that it has truly flourished into the exemplary dram it is today. Its sherry “finish” is in fact a whole two to three years (“finishes” are more commonly measured in months), and it is abundantly clear that that time has not been wasted. Raisins, dark chocolate, treacle toffee; yes…but also so much more. Imagine the most indulgent chocolate pudding, or perhaps just chocolate syrup gulped straight from the bottle, all accompanied by plumes of Scotch Mixture pipe tobacco smoke. There is a dominant note of resin throughout - any violin player will recognise it immediately - with wholemeal toast forming the gentle, dense and murky peat smoke; cigar-box cedar wood and the tannins of the sherry, with just a touch of the sea air and, of course, simply delicious thick cocoa and black coffee with generous measures of caramel syrup. It tastes like a mild, wet foggy summer night by the sea. It tastes like steering a fishing vessel into harbour at midnight, with the flags gently fluttering in the breeze and the water lapping against the bow. It’s a night-time whisky, for sure; and a calmer, gentler one than many of its stormier Islay neighbours. But immensely more rewarding, and utterly unique. I’m sure I’m not the only one with many very fond memories associated with this defining single malt. Any fans of Macallan who are looking for a stepping stone into Islay - or, indeed, Islay fans looking to get into Speyside - will find this indispensable…but for anyone at all to pass this up would be their loss.
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