Review: Bowmore Darkest 15 Years Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

15 years; Bourbon and Sherry Casks
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Bowmore (Bowmore, Scotland)

This whisky, produced at Bowmore on the island of Islay on Scotland, is aged for 12 years in a bourbon cask before an additional 3 years of aging in a sherry cask. It is called, “darkest”, I assume because of its darker colour compared to its other regular stablemates in the 12 and 18 year old – it is my favourite of the three.

Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

Nose: The peat of course comes through, but the sherry influence tempers and supports it. Vanilla, canned peaches, custard, and a bit of orange juice come through. The peat combines with a bit of peppery spice for a nice effect.

Taste: There is a citrusy, vanilla tinged entry with some slightly tart dried fruits before the smoke presents a good puff of smoke on the finish. I find the spices more developed than on the 12 year old, with some slight cinnamon and clove and black pepper on the finish as well. There’s a nice level of sweetness, and I find the body and sweetness better set on this one than on the 12 year old.

Finish: Some spices come through with the smoky peat, still carrying a moderate acidic character leaving you a bit thirsty for more. There’s also a slight bit of malt that peeks its head out here and there, which I didn’t notice much on the palate. Smoke, of course, is very present as well.

I do like this malt quite a bit, and I find the sherry finds its place nicely in this one. If you like this, Laimrig is terrific....

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average. An average buy for the price.