Bowmore "Darkest" 15 Year Old Sherry Cask Islay Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
No shrinking violet, this copper penny-hued Scotch hits the nose and palate with a robust but harmonious mix of toffee and peat smoke, in equal measures, finishing dry and spicy. Darkest is an apt description for a whiskey partly matured in former oloroso Sherry casks, which adds deep, raisiny tones.
Darkest now has an age statement of 15 years old. This new release is an improvement from the original Darkest, both of which are succulently sherried. It is fuller in flavor and more visceral, in both the nose and palate. These differences are subtle, but positive. Notes of lush fruit, raisin, pot-still rum, and Heath bars. Citrus and wood spices emerge, along with burning peat embers that linger on the finish. Nicely done. (Vol. 16, #2)
A sweet, extremely rewarding whisky that belies its Islay roots. Just a touch of peat on the nose quickly disappears, to be replaced by fruit, toffee and cocoa, all of which gain traction on the palate, with notes of Sherry and spice. The cocoa and Sherry linger on and on.
Double-gold medal 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Also on F. Paul Pacult's list of the Scotch Whiskies to be drinking in 2007. And back in 2004, when it was just called "Darkest," Wine Enthusiast hailed the bottling as one of the 50 Best Spirits of 2004: "The opening inhalation offers deep aromas of nutmeg, oloroso Sherry, dark toffee and black pepper; further aeration stirs up thrilling scents of chocolate- covered cherries, tobacco smoke, sea brine, paraffin, praline and cedar box—a textbook Islay/sherry perfume. Palate entry is winey, concentrated and stunningly Sherry-like; at midpalate the taste profile expands to include dark honey, butterscotch, old oak, vanilla extract and cocoa bean. Concludes delicately and as sweet as honey but with a bit of smoke. If you want a hint of what the legendary but no longer available Black Bowmore 1964 was like, pick up a bottle of Darkest."