It has been some time since we last shared some tasting notes form one of the worlds oldest scotch maturation warehouses, the legendary No.1 Vaults of the Bowmore distillery. However, a few weeks ago we got reacquainted with their 15yo expression, once also known as Bowmore ‘Darkest’. Matured in an inspired combination of both bourbon and sherry casks, it’s the final three years spent in Oloroso sherry casks that gives Bowmore 15 Year Old, one of the most beautifully balanced Bowmores, the rich, deep colour reflected in its name, and its warming finish.
On the nose: welcoming notes of raisins, dark chocolate and wafts of peat. These are followed by notes of vanilla, cinnamon, oranges, honey and hint of thyme. Some spicy notes start to emerge in the form of black pepper and tarragon, coupled with salt, a buttery note and treacle. The nose is rounded-off by notes of candy apple, a sweet malty note (Horlicks), some floral notes and lemon zest. On the palate: that note of dark chocolate is ever-present, followed by peat, currants, raisins and vanilla. These initial notes are followed by butterscotch, toffee, that sweet malty note, green herbs and lemon zest. Completing the palate are notes of candy, honey, black pepper, some spices, a light floral note and hazelnuts. The finish: is medium/long, spicy, sweet, with lingering peat, oak and dried fruits.
The verdict: Bowmore have a very distinct Islay Scotch and this marriage of Oloroso & bourbon cask is a masterstroke. Its brutish Islay character is evident but it has a very endearing delicate touch of elegance. It’s smooth and harmonious, with plenty of depth and complex notes that standout. Definitely a dram every peat-lover should have in their cabinet. With an ABV of 43%, there is no need to add any water but do so if you feel the need to in small quantities.
Bowmore 15-Year-Old Single Malt Scotched matured in Oloroso & Bourbon is priced at approximately £67.
For more information on this 15yo expression, visit the official Bowmore website.