This was a delightful little dram that I first got to taste at the distillery and purely by accident. We were on a very tight Islay timeline (we were there literally for 5 hours) and were travelling back to Port Askaig to catch the ferry, when our taxi driver said that he left his cell phone on charge at home and if we would mind waiting at the Bowmore distillery while he went home to fetch it? Of course we did not mind!
Whisky: Bowmore 15yo ‘Darkest’, 43% ABV
Region: Islay, Scotland
Style: Single Malt
Age: 15 years
Founded over two centuries ago in 1779, Bowmore is the first recorded distillery on Islay and one of the oldest in the whole of Scotland. They still smoke their malt in a peat-fired kiln, just as their ancestors did over 200 years ago. Bowmore’s now legendary No. 1 Vaults is a very special place indeed as it is the oldest maturation warehouse in Scotland and the only one below sea level.
Bowmore is one of an ever decreasing handful of distilleries to produce its own floor malted barley. Every four hours, the barley is still laboriously hand turned by their Maltmen using traditional tools.
The ‘Darkest’ was matured in a combination of both bourbon and sherry casks, with the final three years spent in Oloroso sherry casks.
Colour: Lovely tawny to mahogany colour with long, slow and thick legs.
Nose: Sweet and starts out with some winter spices, Xmas cake, raisins before moving on to luscious notes of subtle peat smoke, polished leather and some sea salt spray before ending off with very dark chocolate.
Palate: The entry carries from the nose with soft winter spices, brandied raisins, citrus marmalade and some of that lovely smokiness lingering around with some salty and leather notes, before having more of that very dark chocolate for the end. A big and powerful palate with a lovely weight to it.
Finish: Long and lingering with lovely winter spiciness to a sweetish very dark chocolate end.
Overall: Well as ‘accidental’ tastings go, this really was a great one! I enjoyed this first introduction to the Bowmore range and plan to explore this range more.
My Score: 86