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Bowmore 15 Year Old - Darkest

Dark Passenger

1 585

RReview by @Rigmorole

26th Mar 2013

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Overall
    85

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

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.

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5 comments

@DaveM
DaveM commented

Bowmore does use caramel coloring in their whiskies. I suspect that they chill filter as well.

4 years ago 0

Rigmorole commented

Looked it up: Yes, Dave, you are correct. Well done. The Darkest has "mit farbstoff" written on the bottle.

What a disappointment. I guess the caramel additives are common to most Bowmore whiskies. I won't be buying a bottle any time soon after making this discovery. "Darkest," my po po. Uh uh. It ain't truly dark, if the darkness is fake additives. To me, that is the darkness of deceit not the darkness of a fine craft whisky.

This said, I also researched the first bottle that I tasted at Kells downtown. It was the 15, not the Darkest 15. I like that better. In my opinion, the fake caramel is less pronounced in the 15 over the Darkest 15. This said, I have never tasted the mere "Darkest" (without a year listed on the label), which I understand was a 14 year old whisky.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

Rigmorole commented

So, it seems the "dark passenger" in Darkest is E150. I stand by my title. And yes, for those who watch "Dexter" that is the allusion. Putting chemical caramel is whisky is like a human brain operating without the use of the frontal lobes (hence, psychopathy). Thank goodness for the Germans who demand the label list the presence of this "dark passenger."

Well done, you Germans. And you don't allow "fluoride" in your water (which is, in actuality, the industrial waste of fertilizer mining operations and far from pharmaceutical grade fluoride). So, the dark passenger in much of the water in the USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and England is actually industrial waste passing itself off as "fluoride." Dark Passenger, indeed. The Scottish do not allow this Dark Passenger in their water. Well done, Scotland. Your whisky is better for it!

4 years ago 0

@DaveM
DaveM commented

I guess the rule of thumb is that if you don't see the bottle labeled with 'no coloring added' or 'non chill filtering' you have to assume the opposite does occur in your bottle of whisky.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

Rigmorole commented

Words of wisdom. Thanks, Dave

4 years ago 0

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