Snoof says on November 25, 2022
Darkest before the dawn.
Well, I’m not to the magical 250, but I’m reaching 200 (Abov owe me two) and so to one of my most wished for and anticipated drams. The last time was a bit of disaster with an old-label Bowmore 12 not working at all. So hopefully, for No. 200, come on… The nose… Light smoke and a little whiff of peat, and then restrained fruit quite low and back-seated. Vanilla creams, sprightly sultana/raisin coming through as it warms. A slight leatheriness and maybe even a hint of lemon. The leather is like new shoes fresh from the box and this older version of 15 is really displaying the distiller’s craft. Then sugary bright, sweet grape to grapefruit with a smidge of chocolate sprinkles.
Oh, yes, milk chocolate heading to dark chocolate and the raisins back in there, and a little spice coming to the fore. The smoke tunes down to give the spice a dance, but this is very nice from the first sip. A little fruit flavour that is definitely showing the sherry but with no hint of sulphur: it’s like a chocolate cake with something like a teaspoon of Vin Santo added. And even Vin Santo in the nose on a further try. A little tobacco that nods to the leather of the nose, but that sweet old-fashioned tobacco that fathers smoked. I want to take my time with this so I return to the flavours again.
Long and doesn’t fade. The spice keeps steady and works like a twisting flame on the tongue. The flavour is again a little leathery with the peat smoke just apparent. The fruit is there too, like the aftertaste after orange chocolate (Terry’s). There’s little drying and again there’s an aftertaste like cinnamon here, but not at all strong. This all works together so well. I could drink this every day, but it would undervalue what it is. A sweet Islay flavour-fest that ticks all the boxes for me. And a coffee-like afterburn too, maybe from a well-made mocha, with (again) a brilliant balance between the coffee and choco! Yep, brilliant, with a score that could rise.
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