Bowmore Darkest 15

Bowmore Darkest 15, ABV 43%.  Chill filtered.  Caramel color added.

This whisky has been aged 15 years, the first 12 in bourbon barrels, and the final 3 in in Oloroso sherry casks.  It is interesting that they make a marketing highlight of the dark color, presumably associated with the sherry cask finishing.  But, the reviews note that artificial coloring has been added (I have learned that in some European countries, the producers are required to indicate if coloring has been added).

On the nose, it is subdued.  There is a little smoke and peat, but light for an Islay.  Sweet dry notes, like vermouth, and a bit malty. On first sip, the palate comes through with a dry sweetness, a little cinnamon, then grapefruit.  Peat and smoky seaweed follow, with a modest spicy undercoating.  It shows the maturity of 15 year casking, not at all harsh nor aggressive.  The finish is medium, a little bitter, with peat and sweet vermouth competing.

I find it to be a pleasant enough, but unimpressive, whisky.  The age makes it a smooth and approachable dram.  But, the flavor profile is mixed, the peat and sherry influences co-exist, but do not balance well.   I had thought that, perhaps, this could be similar to Ardbeg Dark Cove, but at a bargain rate (about $50 less).  However, there is simply no comparison.  And, if cost is a major constraint, I think you could find others in the price range of this whisky that would give a better balance of peat and sherry.

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