Distiller: Bowmore. ABV: 43%. Age: 15 years. Price: $80.
The Bowmore Darkest is a bit of an oddity to me. Sounds great on paper: a robust peaty Islay with a core of bourbon cask maturation and a healthy dose of sherry on top. That’s Lagavulin 16 territory, no? What’s not to love?
Or so I thought.
Bought it nearly two yrs ago, and was so put off by the soup of iodine, sulfur, and excessive syrupy sweetness that I suspected I had a bad bottle. Then Thane opened a bottle of his own for me–same thing. No improvement over a month or so. I all but abandoned it, taking solace in a brilliant Signatory Bowmore Cask Strength instead–all-bourbon, I believe.
Then, for some reason, I cracked it again a week ago. Time and oxidation had worked wonders. Now it’s a big ripe chocolate-covered strawberry wrapped in sweet campfire smoke. Silky texture. Very pleasant.
Hard to recommend a bottle that takes two yrs to reach its sweet spot–and as The Whisky Jug points out, that pretty ruby color is from e150a caramel coloring as much as the sherry finish–but I’m glad it wasn’t a total loss. And some folks do love this right off the bat.
Tried it? What do you think? -BO