Whisky Advent Calendar: Day 8

8 12 2014

Week two begins!  Tonight’s whisky is the first single malt on the Advent docket from Islay, even though it’s the second time we’ve run into this distillery on our mini-alcoholic Christmas tour of Scotland.  Bowmore was a component of the multi-distillery blend in Day 5’s excellent Big Peat; now it’s on its own on Day 8, which showcases its 15 Year “Darkest” Single Malt.  This is, rather insanely, the 4th out of 8 Advent whiskies to date that has spent some time aging in Oloroso sherry casks.  This surge of barrel popularity makes sense when you think of the long, slow, oxidative process that goes into making dark, treacly Olorosos, a procedure that would leave plenty of colour and flavour imbued into the barrels ready to pass along to the next thing that filled them.  This Bowmore spent the last 3 of its 15 years in Oloroso casks (largely for the colour enhancement which gave the Darkest its name), with the prior dozen in a mixture of bourbon and (other) sherry casks.

Quick - guess which barrels?

Quick – guess which barrels?

I believe this is the most expensive scotch of the bunch so far, although it’s still comfortably under triple digits retail at $88.  I was a massive fan of the Darkest:  its deep bronze colour lived up to its title, and its nose was impeccably balanced between the dirtier, grimier Islay scents of moss, tar, rubber and oil and warmer, prettier notes of baked apple, cinnamon and incense.  Once you took a sip the symphony of flavours was amplified to include celery, saddle leather, moccasins and iron, but nothing ever stood out as overpowering, and everything was tied seamlessly together with the soft kiss of oak and even a hint of tannin on the finish.  If it wasn’t for my joy over the whimsy and constituent elements of Big Peat, this might have been my new favourite of the calendar, but a silver medal position this far into the race isn’t bad.  Internal probability when I first got this calendar that I’d be ranking Islay whiskies 1-2 after 8 days:  0%.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: