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A few years ago, having loved Bowmore 12 and 15 Darkest, this was top of my wishlist for quite a few months. I think I first tried it at Christmas about 5 years ago and instantly loved it.
I've not tried it for a while, (in fact I think my last sample of it was actually in Bowmore Hotel in summer 2011). Also noticed it doesn't have exactly glowing reviews on here so here's my take....
Nose: Cocoa Powder and dark chocolate. Rich dark fruits, perhaps plums or dates. A tiny touch of spice and some subtle underlying smokiness.
Palate: Chocolate again but more like milk chocolate now. Slightly spicier than the nose with a bit of fruit that I cannot quite pinpoint. Apples perhaps? Citrus? Maybe a bit of salt. Smoke gradually seeps through but less noticeably than in younger expressions.
Finish: Short/Medium and a bit insipid - this is its failing. Some smokiness but overall a bit too bitter. Does dry quite nicely however.
Well I personally love the flavours of Bowmore so I was never going to score this one low. It just lacks a bit of body... What it needs is to do is come out of the dark ages and get with the 21st century trends. Remove the chill-filtration, (and probably colouring too), and increase the ABV a few percent. This might even improve the finish also.
So for flavour this is fantastic. For finish and body....could be a bit better.