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I have finally obtained a bottle of this most elusive Bowmore expression. Having heard such good things about and after searching for well over a year I'm really looking to sampling this.
Soft sweet ripe red fruits dominate the nose with raisins in there and cherries - very clearly sherry. Woodsmoke then drifts over it before a treacle edge makes an appearance. Becomes sweeter, mellower and more pudding-like after time. (I should say a tiny drop of water has been added).
More of the same on the palate but it all arrives at once, minus the smokiness which holds off at first. Treacle pudding flavoured with ripe fruits. Or is it more like Christmas pudding flavoured with treacle? Quite chewy. We then get a really intense classic Bowmore smoke - much more so than on the Darkest, (which despite being a long-time favourite of mine tastes like pure syrup in comparison).
Finish - unexpectedly bitter at first! Not that good TBH. 2nd attempt - smoky but with a bit more sweet fruit there. But still a bitter edge. Quite drying, medium-long. 3rd attempt, (10 mins later) provides a much nicer finish with the bitterness only very subtle. (*note to self - remember to let whiskies breathe for a few minutes.)
Well was it worth the wait - definitely. Did it live up to expectations - just about. Worth the price, (£90) - it's overpriced but I was prepared to pay it for the opportunity. I do think £70 would be more reasonable however.
Anyway this is Bowmore Darkest on steroids. A much more robust whisky yet still with enough subtleties to keep your interest up.