Whisky Connosr

Bowmore 15 Darkest

Treacle Peat

3 586

@RianCReview by @RianC

2nd Jul 2020


Bowmore 15 Darkest
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: user

  • Brand: Bowmore
  • ABV: 43%

This review is from a Bowmore set of three mini-bottles, also including the 12 and 18 versions. From what I can gather, this 'Darkest' version of the 15 is basically the previous packaging incarnate of the current 15. Web chat suggests the Darkest version was slightly better but how much is due to batch variation as opposed to any significant recipe change is anyones' guess.

I was pleasantly surprised by the 12 so how is the 15? I had a wee taste last night so the bottle has had time to open up a tad. Review is neat.

Nose - ashy, sooty and somewhat grimy peat that nips at the nose (very much my kind of peat) with some dark, jammy red fruit notes. Dried fruits too, with some figs and prunes, boozy Genoa cake and even a touch of musty old leather; all very nice so far. Add a little wood spice and dark chocolate and voila.

Taste - sweet arrival with some rich dark cherry jam and treacle toffee, then the peat starts to nip pleasingly at the back of the tongue. More dried fruit as it develops and, despite the mouth feel being on the thinner side, there is this sweet, tongue gripping feel that follows through. Drying.

Finish - medium with more bitter chocolate and some heavy, but not unpleasant tannins.

This is definitely a step up from the 12 and I really like the marriage of peat and sherry casks here. I'm assuming that the extra three years have been spent in sherry casks and it has worked a treat. I see why they went for the Darkest moniker as there is definitely a dark, treacley note that runs through this that is very enjoyable. I rarely focus on presentation, or at least lament it, but here, like the 12, I can't help but feel an abv of 48%+ and NCF would have made this one absolutely stellar. As it is, it's very good but put this next to, say, Glen Scotia 15 and it visibly wilts, especially on mouth-feel.


Nozinan commented

Nice review.

I was less impressed than you appear to be by the 15. And I tasked it after the 12 and before the 18 from a mini set like yours.

There was a time when the price of the 15 and the Laimrig (edition 2 or 3) were about $5 apart. If you tried those H2H I think you would never want the 15 again...

3 years ago 2Who liked this?

RianC commented

@Nozinan - Thanks. I've been pleasantly surprised by the range to be honest but this one was definitely the star. I really like the style of peat too and it works well here, which it doesn't always with sherry (to my palate at least) . I wonder if the 15 was finished in drier sherry casks with the 18 being sweeter ones?

3 years ago 1Who liked this?

BlueNote commented

@RianC There is a newer version of the 15 that is no longer called Darkest. I had some recently and thought it was an improvement on the Darkest. If only Bowmore would pump this and the 18 up to 46% I think they would improve substantially. Glad you are enjoying them. As @Nozinan has mentioned, if you ever see the 15 year old Laimrig, DO NOT HESITATE.


3 years ago 3Who liked this?

Jonathan commented

I have had really really good drams of Darkest, but the bottle I bought two years ago tasted like Black Bottle with some sherry influence. It didn't taste like a 15 year old whisky. I wouldn't have written this if your review weren't about a small sample, because a bottle can taste better with some air and time.

3 years ago 1Who liked this?

RianC commented

@BlueNote - That's the one I've seen on offer for £40. Chat suggests it isn't as good but whether that's batch variation or a recipe change who knows. My guess is they just dropped the Darkest tag from the packaging for the sake of continuity of the range.

3 years ago 0