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.
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.