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Bowmore 15 Year Old - Darkest

Betty bought some better bitter

1 1978

@WhisQueerReview by @WhisQueer

18th Jan 2018

1

  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    78

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

I'm used to Islay malts (which I love), but I had an awkward feeling with this one at first taste. Very complex (fruit, smoke) nose, but a disappointing taste, very weak. Light grapefruit, some lingering bitter aftertaste (this should be the sherry aftertaste, I guess), but where was my smoke? I tried to let it air 15 minutes, nothing changed. But on the very last sip, there it was : a fruit explosion and a very neat peat flavor.

I've found out that it tastes better when 2 conditions are met: - appropriately cold (~14°C) - when I vigorously stir the bottle before pouring one glass.

Then, the smoke can fully develop. Nose : Very rich and heady, complex. sherry, porto, red berries, a touch of rancio. Wanut wine? A hint of cinnamon. Taste: woody, bitter-sweet. If appropriately cold, a distinctive smoke gradually fading to bitterness. Drying finish.

I'm still not sure whether I find this one disappointing or not... what I get, for sure, is that I find it very weird, but not necessarily in a bad way, since I like bitterness. So either I ran across a bad batch, or... maybe this is an acquired taste I still have to develop.

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19 comments

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

There was a time when this one and Laimrig (not batch 4, but earlier) were $5 apart (about $95 and $100).

There is a world of difference. I cannot see myself EVER buying this one.

7 months ago 0

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

A guy in my club brought a surprise last-half-of-the-bottle of this to a shindig a few months ago, and I was surprised by how much I liked it. I prepared for a tepid Bowmore mess, but it was really fresh & lively.

Ascribe that to what you will—batch variation, low expectations, improvement in an open bottle, or maybe just the "even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while" principle, but I was certainly pleasantly surprised. I wonder if there are any Bowmore nuts out there who could tell us whether their stuff is on the upswing. How great would that be?

†Yes, I agree—that's pretty much the same thing as batch variation.

7 months ago 2Who liked this?

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

I said it before but I once try three bottles of the same batch of the 18 and they ran from mediocre to very good. This is one of the reasons I rarely buy Bowmore there is simply too much batch, and bottle, variation.

7 months ago 1Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

I have been seeing reviews lately that are saying this has improved, but after the extreme disappointment of my last bottle (about 3 years ago) I haven't got up the nerve to try it again. Too much other stuff available at that price point that I know won't disappoint.

7 months ago 2Who liked this?

@WhisQueer
WhisQueer commented

I've tasted it a few days later, at another temperature (I read another review here which stated it was better drinked cold, so I kept it at ~15°C), and it was definitely another whisky. Maybe it also has to do with the aeration, since there was more air in the bottle, or maybe because I try to shake the bottle from time to time. Now, I enjoy it better. The smoke is more defined, and the taste less sour/bitter. I'm starting to enjoy the Sherry+Smoke combo (even if it's less complex than in the Springbank 12) Gotta update my review one of these days!

6 months ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@WhisQueer If it tastes better cold then that means it's better when you taste it less. Not a big recommendation.

But I'm thinking, maybe I should try that with LAMBERTUS...

6 months ago 3Who liked this?

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@Nozinan In the case of Lambertus, you are better tasting it frozen. scream

6 months ago 2Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

If it tastes better cold then that means it's better when you taste it less. Not a big recommendation.

I’m not sure I wholly agree. I guess, technically you’re right. But certain wines are “supposed” to be served colder than others, why wouldn’t it be the same for whisky?

6 months ago 2Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

I think I'm with @OdysseusUnbound on this one.

Serious whisky appreciation can only happen at room temperature? Yeah. Probably. OK.

But whisky that's better cold is bad whisky? Maybe not. Lemonade is better cold. Most beer is better cold. White wine is better cold. And ice cream. Why not some respectable whisky?

6 months ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@MadSingleMalt - Dalwhinnie Winter's Gold is 'supposed' to be drank straight from the freezer...

Never tried it myself but seems a bit of a gimmick and I suspect the cold covers some of the cracks in the NAS offering? Happy to be wrong though relaxed

6 months ago 2Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

@BlueNote:

It can't really be better cold?

Or if it is better cold, that can't be an endorsement of the whisky?

6 months ago 1Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

@MadSingleMalt I think I'm with @Nozinan on this: Mediocre or bad whisky could benefit from having it's shortcomings masked with chilling; good whisky, I think, is best drunk at something approximating room temperature in order to allow all of its flavours and smells to surface. I believe this is also the prevailing wisdom of the whisky cognoscenti.

6 months ago 1Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

But IPAs are terrible at any temperature !! stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye

6 months ago 2Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

@OdysseusUnbound Especially those ones that smell like cat piss. There's some kind of hipster machismo thing these days about who can handle the hoppiest beer.

6 months ago 1Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

Especially those ones that smell like cat piss.

Are there any other kind of IPAs?

6 months ago 0

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

@OdysseusUnbound There used to be, but not lately now that there is a "craft" brewery on every corner.

6 months ago 1Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@BlueNote I was at an art opening this past summer (I was featured in one of the video exhibits), and they had some English Pale Ale from an Ontario Brewery, or micro-brewery or nano-brewery or whatever it is these days, and it was actually really good. There was some hoppy bitterness, but it was well-integrated and well balanced. I wish I knew the name of it. It was a very nice summer beer.

6 months ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

The only cat urine note I ever got in whisky was in Lambertus.

6 months ago 1Who liked this?

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