This whisky, produced at Bowmore on the island of Islay on Scotland, is aged for 12 years in a bourbon cask before an additional 3 years of aging in a sherry cask. It is called, “darkest”, I assume because of its darker colour compared to its other regular stablemates in the 12 and 18 year old – it is my favourite of the three.
Nose: The peat of course comes through, but the sherry influence tempers and supports it. Vanilla, canned peaches, custard, and a bit of orange juice come through. The peat combines with a bit of peppery spice for a nice effect. 27/30 (90%)
Taste: There is a citrusy, vanilla tinged entry with some slightly tart dried fruits before the smoke presents a good puff of smoke on the finish. I find the spices more developed than on the 12 year old version, with some slight cinnamon and clove and black pepper on the finish as well. There’s a nice level of sweetness, and I find the body and sweetness better set on this one than on the 12 year old version. 26/30 (87%)
Finish: Some spices come through with the smoky peat, still carrying a moderate acidic character leaving you a bit thirsty for more. There’s also a slight bit of malt that peeks its head out here and there, which I didn’t notice much on the palate. Smoke, of course, is very present as well. 17.5/20 (88%)
Conclusion: I do like this malt quite a bit, and I find the sherry finds its place nicely in this one. In this brief tasting, I am noticing less tingly spice than I remember the last time I tasted this – I remember a whisky which I would have rated a bit higher than this 17.5/20 (88%)
Overall Score: 88/100