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Firstly I should probably make it abundantly clear that these notes relate to the Bowmore Darkest from the "old" series, which had no age statement on the bottle and was - as the name suggests - quite a dark coloured whisky.
The first thing you notice is of course the colour - a sort of attention-grabbing deep auburn. If this was the colour of a girl's hair you'd probably find yourself trying to ask her a question, even if you couldn't think of anything to say.
It's difficult not to be drawn in by the colour and say that it smells of chocolate, however if it is it's that chocolate with raisins & a dab of rum in it. In a hospital. You know there's medicinal elements out there, but you can't take your eyes off the chocolate. A waft of mothballs - perhaps nanna's come to visit?
I find myself wondering if water's gotten into this bottle, because it doesn't drink like 43%. So gentle, and thinner than the sherry-like appearance would have you imagine. Dark, burnt flavours play on the tongue, accompanied by the iodiney, briny backing note of Bowmore. As you swallow you feel like all the heavy, sweet flavours are going to encamp on your tongue, and then they disappear off with the liquid.
After the last drop of whisky has cleared the tastey-sniffy-cavity (you get a bit sick of looking for similes, don't you?) you realise that despite the watery sensation from before we've now got a dry and slightly salty finish, with a light tingly spice dusting and a whiff of cocoa. And there's the aftertaste of a little peat, as if to say "I was here! Why didn't you notice me before?!". Some bitterness creeps in also, leaving you wondering whether you had dark chocolate or not.
Not an overpowering whisky, and you've got to be in the right mood to drink it, but quite a distinctive style and a useful stepping stone for the Bowmore range to cross.