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 Darkest Review:

The dark fruit and sherry influences are definitely there despite the passage of 15 years in the cask. The nose is fruitier than you would expect, with dark cherries and even some raspberries. The signature smokiness that characterises the Islay style is apparent, but the fruit dominates, and there is a tropical element that I can describe no more than as ‘pungent – the kind of tropical fruit that makes you think of lemons’. It’s delightful. 

The palate too is very full, with the dark fruit imparted at first, before the sherry adds more. The influence of the sherry is becoming more apparent, but it is still very Bowmore-like. There is a hint of prune and woodsmoke and only a hint of earthiness from the peat smoke. The finish is relatively short and dry, with rather shriveled fruit at the end.

Bowmore 15 Darkest Review:

Bowmore 15 distillery still produces a damn good whiskey. Named after the bow-shaped cut in the hills that form the island, this is a light-bodied dram, with a creamy mouthfeel and pronounced vanilla, but without the brashness or badly treated peat that one would associate with a cheap Highland malt. It lingers and is steadily developing in the glass, without becoming overly sweet.

As the peatiness and smokiness which are like fingerprints of this distillery weave their magic when you pour the Bowmore into your glass, the fruity and sweet oily character is in full swing. Boasting characteristics of the island, this mixture of peat and fruit really opens up and leaves gradually more times so, towards the mid journey.

Bowmore 15 Darkest Review:

Pairing the Bowmore 15 year old with bacon and eggs is a perfect way to start your morning. You get the fatty hit from the bacon smothered with runny egg. And the Bowmore brings out all the best of it.

A good blend of peat and sweet malt, made for warming you up on a cold Scottish day. What a damn good looking entry level Bowmore expression. It comes in a plain brown bottle with the distilling information on the front. Quite frankly, it is a damn good looking one at that. I’ve seen worse.

Bowmore 15 Darkest Review:

Bowmore 15 Darkest is great value for a malt whisky at this price point. It’s delicious as you would expect and is limited edition, but the labeling is muddy grey, kind of like the colour of lead.

Summary: If you are looking for a good malt and have a small budget, I don’t think you would go wrong with this one.

Distilled at Bowmore on the Isle of Islay and matured in ex-sherry oak for a period of 15 years. Light gold in colour. The nose is full of fruity aromas from the sherry cask. These hint at tropical fruits, especially pineapple. Bursting with fruit on the palate with sweet citrus fruit notes from the sherry cask and a similarly rich reception from the Islay peat smoke.

The finish is sharp and peppery, as you would expect from a truly Islay whisky.

In a nutshell: Perhaps a little richer than your average Bowmore, but also a little sweeter. You could quite happily drink this for breakfast.

Bowmore 15 Darkest Review:

Bowmore 15 Darkest is bold and complex, full of fruity tropical flavours with a beautiful cask influence.

Summary: Connoisseurs will call it one of the great Bowmore expressions and you can share my opinion.

Bowmore 15 Year Old Darkest 118.4/118 (91.26%) ABV. Distilled at Bowmore Distillery on the Isle of Islay and matured in Oloroso Sherry Casks for 15 years.

Colour: Dark

Brown. Nose: Dark chocolate, almond, honey, ripe fruit, peat, melon, tropical fruits; bursting with fruity aromas from the oak casks.

Palate: The nose is present and peppery, rich and spicy. Sweet fruit, hints of peppery smoke, cocoa powder.

Finish: Short and dry, peppery. A good malt.

The First Flow is the first batch of whisky to leave the still, and is also the last to dissipate to the atmosphere before the next still kick. They’re the first to catch the light, and so, the first to be admired by the public. Weighing in at 118.4%, it is a simple, straightforward, fast-finishing whisky. A true expression of Islay malt whisky at its best; an impressive dram.

Summary: A well-balanced, consistent whisky that delivers all the Islay characteristics of the distillery, from its fruits and spices to its smoky peat and woodsmoke. As the description says, it’s “a fast-finishing whisky.”

Bowmore 15 Darkest Review:

Fish and chips is what is on the menu at my local pub. The reason being that the pub in question is by far the easiest to get to, and I’m in the mood for fish and chips. A drink this Bowmore 15 Darkest reminds me of my lunch. A straightforward, dynamic dram, which is the perfect accompaniment for a decent plate of fish. It’s a compelling whisky.

Written by Mark Adams


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