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Nose: The heavy sherry signature in this dram is no surprise. It wafts up from the glass like mist from the Garden of Eden, along with a more complex fruitiness belying dates, figs, and allspice.
Palate: Sherry again, along with sea salt and caramel, toasted malt, nougat, wood that does not exactly taste like the usual oak. I'm getting resin that reminds me of fir or pine perhaps. The palate ends with a pleasant smokiness.
Finish: After the whisky is down the hatch, I get sherry again, Allspice, caramel, and an attenuation of smoke that blends well with the sweetness of this dram.
I've tasted this whisky three times in different pubs. The first was the best. It was presented not as "darkest" but as a Bowmore 15. I can only assume it was "darkest" but it tasted much more complex and layered than the other two glasses at later dates.
My last glass recently did not seem nearly as complex as the first. I can't say why. However, in all three cases the Bowmore 15 Darkest was quite tasty. Here in Oregon, it retails for slightly over a hundred dollars, which seems a bit steep to me, considering the relative complexity.
For those who crave heavy sherry influences, this one is worth trying. If you are more of a heavy smoky/peaty "Islay" type drinker, you might not like it very much. It seems well suited as an aperitif or a whisky to enjoy with desert. My wife certainly appreciated its finer charms.
I hope the dark tint of this whisky is all natural. It would be a shame to learn it is fake caramel coloring that earns the name "darkest." To me, that would be blasphemy. I can't imagine Bowmore "going there" with an additive, and then calling attention to the color so directly. It must be real.