Bowmore 15 (sometimes called “Darkest”) is the sherry-finished version of Bowmore 12. If the marketing is to be believed, it’s simply the result of taking a batch of Bowmore 12 and stuffing it into some fresh Oloroso puncheons for another full 3 years, which I deeply appreciate. Kudos for a nice bit of open, transparent marketing there.
As the name suggests the liquid is dark – a beautiful, deep ruby red – but no word on whether or not this is artificial. I sincerely hope not. Dive in!
Alright, I did this side-by-side with the Bowmore 12, and it honestly wouldn’t surprise me if the marketing was correct. This is shockingly similar, but you obviously get that extra rich, sweet sherry weaving itself in there. Plums and apricots, salted peanuts and a little butterscotch.
Truly awesome. Rare to find a good mix of light peat and strong sherry, but Bowmore 15 absolutely nails it. You get all that sherry goodness – Christmas cake, raisins, almonds – layered with the 12’s light, medicinal peat. Unlike the Glenmorangie Lasanta (hissss) the sherry is truly blended in there nicely, not fighting for your attention or sickly sweet. A fresh hops/beer sort of tang sits on the front of the tongue, while the finish rewards you with an oily layer of subtle dark chocolate and stewed fruits. Awesome!
Dead. Gone. Don’t do it, unless you want to waste some really terrific tipple. Highly suggest not using this as a cocktail mix either. Or mixing with Sprite Zero.
I have a real soft spot for Bowmore 15. At any of the various whisky shows in and around South Africa a long queue can be seen at the Bowmore stand, featuring an empty bottle of Bowmore 15 and comparatively untouched bottles of the 12 and 18. People love this stuff, and while a little pricey for a daily-dram, it’s a clear winter evening keeper. Lovely!