In my youth, it was very rare that I didn’t have an opinion on a matter and I always defended my viewpoint, however absurd, with a fury that only youth or stupidity gives you. The older I get, the more I realise that I know nothing. So often now, I flounder for an opinion on important matters and defer to other people and their ideas.
This brings me to today’s review, Bowmore Darkest. I have only ever had chance to try two Bowmore drams, one that a member of our whisky club described as his least favourite ever whisky and the Bowmore Darkest. I tried the Darkest as a part of The Dram Team’s first tasting box, which we trialled as a part of a tweet tasting. Neither of these whiskies struck me and I didn’t really care for either, but knowing how often I am wrong and how well liked this whisky is online, I wanted to try it again…
Bowmore is an Islay (Pronounced “eye-la”) Distillery, which means that it produces peat influenced whiskies that are defined to a large part by its island surroundings. It is an old distillery, that is sited by Loch Indaal and is now owned by Bowmore Morrison, who are a subholding of Beam Suntory. Apparently, waste heat from the distillery is used to warm a nearby local swimming pool.
Appearance: Deep mahogany brown, like a large wooden treasure chest. The whisky wears its barrel ageing well. (This could however be colouring)
Aroma: This dram’s aroma, mirrors its appearance. It smells deeply of antique shops, somewhere between ageing leather books, well worn wood and thick layers of dust.
Taste: The first notes of this whisky are really interesting, they are earthy, vegetal and green. Here these notes make it feel like this whisky has grown from the ground up, like some kind of tree creature, which craven from the earth, throbs with this spirit through its veins.
As the dram develops on the palate, there is a building peaty smoke. Here the monster, has obviously begun to smoke a pipe or cook its prey. There is a thick, syrupy sweetness, which can only come from this whiskies heritage os being casked for two years in Oloroso casks. This sweetness is dark, yet at the same time light.
Finally there is a building spice, which sits of the tongue, warms and brings a lasting darkness of coal. This final flavour, the death of the dram, is long lasting and firmly based in the blackness of coal. The monster finally tamed by a bigger foe, left to smolder in the wasteland.
Mouthfeel: Robust, Sweet and Dark
Overall: Again, another dram that I poured expecting not to like. My memories of this dram were pretty recent and pretty underwhelming. Instead of disliking it, I really enjoyed it. There is a light sweetness, balanced by smoke and coal. I am left needing to buy a bottle to confirm my positive review.
Real Dram Factor: 7.8
More Information: Bowmore Distillery