Drink Review: Bowmore 15 Year Old

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A whisky coming into its prime. This 15-year-old single malt, which spends its final three years in oloroso sherry casks, is elegantly balanced between this sherry influence and the distillery’s fruit and peat characteristics – including a siren-like whisper of tropical fruit that will delight fans of older-style Bowmore. Now is the time to try Bowmore 15 Year Old, which reflects the best of the distillery’s output from around the new millennium.

Bowmore 15 Review:


Fruity and blunt-sweet, with notes of buttered honey, raw honeydew melon, pears, tropical fruits, peat, marzipan, and a delicate wisp of smoke. Light oak, malty spice, and some sherry sweetness too.


Rich, creamy, and milky. Leaden brown sugar, burnt honey, peat, toffee, and beeswax. Nicely fruity, sweet, and well-rounded.


Medium-long, with a lively flinty-grassy sweetness, sherry sweetness, and light honey.


Tastes full, round and rich. The oloroso sherry influence is hard to ignore, but the mature ten year old’s home-grown peatiness is delightfully shy and, for the most part, unobtrusive.


Bowmore 15 Year Old has a very soft feel. The lighter body and palate make it very easy to drink. The malt doesn’t quite communicate exactly what’s going on, as it is very muted, but it’s a sweet, rounded, milk-like, sherry-tinged, honeyed, and unassuming malt. It’s a lot of fun and, for the most part, Bowmore’s sweet side comes through nicely. A good, interesting dram, but not an absolute must-try.

Bowmore 15 Review:

Bowmore 15 Year Old (61.8%): Soft and gentle on the nose, and a little restrained on the palate – better but no more complex than its older siblings (which is to say, to my mind, not at all). Actually rather lightly sherried and not especially balsamic. More rounded than the standard. Bought in Singapore, where a rich creamy gloss is apparent on the glass. Carbonated, oily body, with a nice medium-long fruity-malty-woody finish. 

Bowmore 15 Years Old (56.8%): Different, with a little more warmth. Gold color, legs and rim. The nose is honeyed and balsamic, with some peat. Very clean, and a little watery. More rounded and sweet. Much creamier (and sweeter) than the other.

Bowmore 15 Review:

Bowmore 15 Year Old (61.8%) – Light peat; sweet; sherry. Nose: Oily, sweet, slightly metallic, sherry, melonomic, almonds, and brown sugar. Taste: Has an earthy, metallic, slightly musty feel, with sherry, clove, cut grass, and sultanas. Palate: Sweet and creamy.

Bowmore 15 Year Old (59.4%) – Plenty of raisins on the nose. I find more oak, honey, and copper too. A little more sticky, and a little less sweet than I’d hoped.

Bowmore 15 Year Old (58.1%) – A little darker and maltier than some other expressions. A lot less sherry and a lot more peat. Very smoky and dirty on the nose. Its palate is a little sweet, with a classic sherried aftertaste and lacking that smoky peat of the regular.

Bowmore 15 Year Old (56.5%) – A little wood and smoke on the nose. The palate is a little sweeter than I’d have expected, and the finish is just a touch damp and a little short.

Bowmore 15 Year Old (55.9%) – Very wet and mature on the nose; it’s been in the sherry too long, and the whole thing is starting to smell a little sharp. The palate is a touch tight too, and there’s a little too much oak on the finish.

Bowmore 15 Year Old (61.8%) – Acrid, with a slight sulphury odour. Sweet and full-thickened. Nose: Subtle notes of dark chocolate combined with oily caramel. Palate: Sweet, oily, and thick, a little sticky, and slightly dirty.

Bowmore 15 Year Old (50.5%): ‘Oily, smoky, and full.’ something I’d usually go for, but there’s something quite appealing about deep woodsmoke and a little peat. Turns into a very sweet and light, exhaustingly so, malt.

Bowmore 15 Year Old (61.8%) – A ‘lighter, more floral, and smokier’ version of the distillery standard. Clean and fruity. ‘Lavish and honeyed. Sweet and smooth.’ Nose: Sweet, slightly balsamic, with vanilla, caramel, and peat. Palate: Sweet and oily.

Bowmore 15 Year Old (56.8%) – The nose is ‘smoky and a little chocolaty’. I get the same here, with honey, peat, and a little smoke. Palate: Very light with a watery, slightly acidic feel. Sweet and overpowering.

Bowmore 15 Year Old (61.8%) – Slightly more woody, and a little coppery on the nose. More oily and oily-smoky on the palate too. It’s less sweet, but not as bitter as other Bowmore’s I’ve had.

Bowmore 15 Year Old (56.5%) – ‘A darker, drier Bowmore.’ The nose is pretty fizzy and dominated by oily sweetness. The palate seems to be weighted a bit towards its sugar content. Sparkling and fruity on the nose, with some pepper, wood, smoke, and fruit. The finish is rather plain, short, and light.

Bowmore 15 Year Old (61.8%) – This is a little more complex. There’s a slight hint of pine on the nose, and some peat and citrus too. Solid, but not outstanding. ‘Heavy and oily.’ No sherry declaration, and less oak than I’d have expected. The palate is all oil and oiliness, sweet but somewhat unbalanced.

Bowmore 15 Year Old (53.7%) – ‘A little too woody. Sweet but not overly sweet.’ The nose, which is a little tropical-sour on the finish. A rather skinny and unbalanced palate. Pine-scented, with several spices and a little smoky. Something a little floral on the finish.

Bowmore 15 Year Old (61.3%) – The nose is evergreen, with notes of fir, resin, and pungent caramel. Slightly oxidized and a little bitter on the finish. Very flinty, with a slightly bitter, skanky-grassy finish. Less sweet and cloying than the regular.

Bowmore 15 Year Old (55.8%) – The nose is more floral than usual. More balanced, if a little thin and unruly. Palate is ‘a little too sweet on the finish’.

Written by Mark Adams


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