Bowmore is a renowned Islay whisky that has been enjoyed by whisky drinkers for centuries. For those looking for an excellent expression of Bowmore, there are two popular options – Bowmore 15 year old and Bowmore 18 year old. But which one reigns supreme?
Being an avid whisky lover and Bowmore is one of my favourite Islay whiskies. Recently, I’ve been trying to decide between Bowmore 15 vs 18 year old.
So I decided to do some research and find out which one comes out on top. In this article, I’ll compare the two whiskies based on their taste, aroma, finish and price so you can make an informed decision when choosing your next bottle of Bowmore.
Bowmore is not only the first Islay distillery to acquire a license, but it has stood on Lochindaal’s shoreline since 1779, where its whisky-making processes remain unchanged. Even today, every step of crafting Bowmore whiskey is completed with an unwavering commitment and dedication to detail that yields an exquisite single malt–a truly timeless creation like no other in all of Islay. And by investing time into each and every stage during production, Bowmore remains incomparable as it ages gracefully over the years.
Quick look Comparision: Bowmore 15 vs 18
Nose: An intense and dynamic mixture of Sherry notes, succulent Corinth raisins, spices, creamy mochaccino flavourings and sweet dates.
Palate: The aroma of this exquisite liquid is a blend of rich, woody pine oil and syrupy toffee with creamy malt undertones. Subtly smoky notes heighten the delightful experience for your senses.
Mouthfeel: Bowmore’s signature syrup-like taste is light yet more rich than any other variant I’ve sampled.
Finish: Sweet, fiery heat; caramelised richness; warming sherry notes with hints of barley.
Age: 15 years old
Cask/Barrels: After initially maturing in bourbon barrels, Bowmore 15 Year Old is then aged for a further three years in Oloroso sherry casks to give it its distinctive deep color and robust, warming finish. There’s no better example of the exquisite art of blending than this delightful 15-year-old single malt whisky.
Strength: 86 proof / 43% ABV
Price: £56.59 / $68
Nose: A pungent, citrus aroma wafts through the air. Simmering fruit creates a sweet scent tinged with subtle hints of damp wood and delicate smoke.
Palate: A fragrant bouquet that can only be described as ripe fruit with whispers of plum jam. The taste is sweet but has subtle earthy peat smoke undertones along with distinct grape-like flavours.
Mouthfeel: As the Irresistible flavour initially tickles your tastebuds, it eventually coats them in silky smooth delight.
Finish: Seville oranges yield a fragrant marmalade, blossom-scented and dark as peat.
Age: 18year old
Cask/Barrels: Expertly-chosen oak casks.
Strength: 86 proof / 43% ABV
Price: £98 / $113
Bowmore 15 vs 18 | Bowmore 15 Review
Bowmore 15 has a nose of intense and dynamic complexity, with notes of sweet Sherry, succulent Corinth raisins, spices, creamy mochaccino flavourings and dates. The scents are layered and robust, creating an unforgettable experience for whisky lovers. It has a light yet rich syrup-like taste that is characteristic of Bowmore’s signature style.
Upon deeper exploration of the aroma, one can detect hints of woody pine oil and syrupy toffee with creamy malt undertones. Subtly smoky notes provide an added warmth and depth to the complexity of Bowmore’s 15 year old expression.
The finish is marked by sweet fiery heat, caramelised richness, warming sherry notes and barely perceptible hints of barley. Bowmore 15 is a truly remarkable whisky that perfectly encapsulates its Islay roots – deep, intense and full of character.
Bowmore 15 Year Old is renowned for its signature syrup-like mouth feel, which when compared to other Bowmore variants has a light yet more rich quality. Bowmore’s production process involves maturing the whisky in bourbon barrels and then finishing it off with a three year maturation period in Oloroso Sherry casks.
This results in Bowmore 15 Year Old having a deep colour and robust, warming finish that only Bowmore can achieve. It’s no wonder Bowmore 15 is so beloved by whisky connoisseurs; its unique flavour and complexity evoke an exquisite experience for the senses that’s impossible to forget.
The finish is smoky yet delicate, with sweet fiery heat and traces of caramelised richness providing the perfect balance. By seamlessly marrying together Bowmore’s Islay roots with modern whisky-making processes, Bowmore 15 Year Old stands out as one of Bowmore’s most cherished expressions.
Bowmore 15 year old whisky is an excellent value for money. This exquisite single-malt whisky offers a unique and complex flavour profile that will please both experienced and novice whisky drinkers alike. The deep colour and robust, warming finish Bowmore 15 has to offer is the result of Bowmore’s production process, which involves maturing the whisky in bourbon barrels and then finishing it off with a three-year maturation period in Oloroso Sherry casks.
Bowmore 15 is intense yet dynamic, with notes of sweet Sherry, succulent Corinth raisins, spices, creamy mochaccino flavourings and dates. The palate is equally as rewarding; ripe fruit combined with subtle earthy peat smoke undertones and distinct grape-like flavours. Bowmore 15 has a light yet more rich syrup-like taste that sets this expression apart from any other Bowmore variant available today.
The finish of Bowmore 15 is smoky yet delicate, with sweet fiery heat and traces of caramelised richness providing the perfect balance. Considering all these delicious flavours and aromas Bowmore 15 has to offer, £56.59/$68 seems like a bargain price for such an exquisite single malt whisky experience!
Bowmore 15 vs 18 | Bowmore 18 Review
A pungent, citrus aroma wafts through the air. Simmering fruit creates a sweet scent tinged with subtle hints of damp wood and delicate smoke.
Bowmore 18 has a pungent, citrus aroma that is rich and complex. Notes of sweet Sherry, succulent Corinth raisins and delicate spices are interwoven with subtle hints of damp wood and delicate smoke. The combination of these aromas creates a sweet yet smoky scent that transports you to the wild Islay coast with every sniff.
Bowmore 18 has a deep and complex flavour profile that evokes an exquisite experience for the senses. Upon tasting Bowmore 18, the palate is graced with intense flavours of ripe fruit and plum jam, which create a sweet yet smoky taste.
This whisky is further enriched by subtle hints of woody pine oil, toffee and barley malt. Bowmore 18 also offers a warming sherry finish that adds an extra layer of complexity to this single-malt whisky.
The taste is sweet but has subtle earthy peat smoke undertones along with distinct grape-like flavours. An underlying smokiness lingers throughout each sip while malty undertones balance out Bowmore 18’s sweetness perfectly.
The finish is elegant yet bold; a culmination of sweet Seville oranges yield a fragrant marmalade-like taste blossom-scented and darkly peated before slowly dissipating into subtle warmth and spice.
Bowmore 18-year-old whisky offers a truly remarkable experience for whisky lovers – deep, intense flavours combined with expert craftsmanship make it stand out amongst Bowmore’s expressions.
This stands out as one of Bowmore’s most treasured expressions due to its distinct characters and complexity – perfect for discerning whisky drinkers who appreciate its unparalleled richness and depth.
Bowmore 18-year-old whisky is an exquisite single malt whisky with deep, intense flavours that are sure to please even the most discerning of whisky drinkers. This Bowmore expression was crafted with expert knowledge and skill, making it stand out amongst Bowmore’s other expressions.
The taste also offers an underlying smokiness, malty undertones, fragrant marmalade-like notes and a warming sherry finish. All these flavours combined make Bowmore 18 a truly remarkable experience for whisky lovers.
At £98/$113 Bowmore 18 is certainly a premium price tag to pay for a single malt whisky, though considering the quality of this Bowmore expression it can be said that it offers good value for money.
Bowmore 18 was created using only the finest ingredients prepared according to time-honoured traditions, making it clear why this expression has become so popular amongst whisky enthusiasts.
Additionally, Bowmore 18 has won numerous awards in recent years; in 2018 it won the International Wine & Spirit Competition Gold award – further proof of its superb flavour profile and quality craftsmanship. Therefore, Bowmore 18 is considered good value for money by those who appreciate its unparalleled richness and depth of flavour.
Bowmore 15 vs 18 | Comparing the two
Bowmore 15-year-old whisky features an intense aroma of sweet, citrusy fruits and subtle smoky undertones. Upon tasting Bowmore 15, the palate is graced with succulent notes of ripe tropical fruits and honeycomb drowned in a subtle yet fragrant smokiness. The taste is sweet but carries distinct peat smoke undertones for added complexity. Bowmore 15 has a warm, lingering finish that slowly fades away into a mild spice and zesty citrus notes.
In comparison to Bowmore 18-year-old whisky, Bowmore 15 offers a much lighter aroma and taste profile. Bowmore 18 offers an intensely pungent citrus aroma with notes of sweet sherry, Corinth raisins, and spices weaving through it along with hints of damp wood and delicate smoke.
The taste follows suit by offering a deep flavour profile with intense flavours of ripe fruit and plum jam combined with subtle hints of woody pine oil, toffee, barley malt and a warming sherry finish. Bowmore 18 also brings an underlying smokiness along with malty undertones that perfectly balance the sweetness out throughout each sip.
Lastly, Bowmore 18 finishes off with an elegant yet bold combination of sweet Seville orange marmalade-like flavour blossom-scented darkly peated before leaving you with subtle warmth and spice.
Bowmore 15 vs 18 | Food Pairings
Whisky is one of the most versatile spirits to pair with food, offering an array of complex aromas and flavours that can be complemented or contrasted with the taste of dishes. Bowmore whiskies, specifically Bowmore 15 and Bowmore 18, offer a particularly delicious combination when paired with food.
Bowmore 15 year old Food pairing
Bowmore 15-year-old whisky is best complemented with sweet, decadent treats such as salted caramel dark chocolate truffles. The creamy, rich flavour of the truffles creates a perfect harmony with Bowmore’s subtle smokiness and sweet citrus-like undertones. The salty kick from the salted caramel also works to accentuate Bowmore’s peat smoke aroma, resulting in an experience that is both complex and indulgent.
The intense flavours Bowmore offers pairs nicely with the sweet milk chocolate and smooth filling of these truffles. Bowmore’s underlying smokiness further enhances the sweetness of the milk chocolate while providing a pleasant contrast to its saltiness.
The result is an exquisite combination that can take your tasting experience to another level – Bowmore 15-year-old whisky will bring out the intense flavour of dark chocolate while you enjoy its distinct smoky notes blended with hints of ripe fruits, honeycomb and zesty citrus.
This combination makes Bowmore 15 year old whisky and salted caramel dark chocolate truffles a classic pairing that can be enjoyed by both diehard whisky lovers or even those who are new to whisky tasting experiences. So why not treat yourself or loved ones to this classic pairing for your next special occasion?
Bowmore 18 year old Food pairing
Bowmore 18 year old whisky pairs exceptionally well with West Coast oysters, such as those from Loch Fyne. The briny taste of the oyster helps to bring out Bowmore 18’s complex flavour profile, while Bowmore 18’s smokiness and sherry finish provide a unique and delightful experience. Bowmore 18’s deep flavour profile is complemented by the sweetness of the oyster, creating a perfect balance that is both mellow yet full-bodied.
The smokey notes Bowmore 18 brings also meshes nicely with the oyster’s brininess, resulting in an exquisite combination that provides depth and complexity to each sip. Bowmore 18 also offers subtle hints of woody pine oil and toffee which further enhance the sweetness and umami flavours found in the oysters. As a result, this pairing makes for a truly exquisite experience – one which can be enjoyed by diehard whisky lovers or even those who are new to whisky tasting experiences alike.
Bowmore 15 vs 18 | Cocktails
Bowmore whiskies are the perfect choice for whisky cocktails. Bowmore 15 year old and Bowmore 18 year old have been crafted using premium ingredients, which make them an ideal base for a variety of whisky cocktails. Bowmore’s signature smokiness and intense flavours of ripe fruit, plum jam, toffee, barley are accentuated in the right cocktail mix.
Bowmore 15: The Islay Punch
Captivating your taste buds with the invigorating freshness of Islay air and the warmth of a Caribbean breeze, this exquisite punch is sure to linger on your tongue.
Bowmore 18: Old fashioned
Forget what you’ve heard, this whisky cocktail recipe has stood the test of time since as early as 1806. Elevate your experience by swapping out rye whisky for Bowmore Whisky and indulging in a taste of heavenly cocktail bliss!
Bowmore 15 vs 18 | Conclusion
Bowmore 15 and 18 year old whiskies offer an exquisite experience for whisky lovers of all levels. Whether you are looking to pair Bowmore with some decadent treats such as salted caramel dark chocolate truffles, or enjoy a classic pairing of Bowmore 18 with West Coast oysters, each variant brings its own unique set of flavours that will tantalize your taste buds.
For those who prefer cocktails, Bowmore’s smokiness can be captured in the Islay Punch featuring Bowmore 15 or the timeless Old Fashioned made from Bowmore 18 – both recipes promise to deliver an unforgettable drinking experience! So why not try out these exciting variants today and explore their complexity?
I believe Bowmore 15 year old is the better whisky of the two because it has a more intense flavour that brings out the dark chocolate notes, as well as distinct smoky notes that are blended with hints of ripe fruits, honeycomb, and zesty citrus. This makes for a much more complex and interesting flavour profile that I enjoy. Additionally, Bowmore 15 year old pairs nicely with classic foods such as salted caramel dark chocolate truffles – something that I believe adds to the overall experience of enjoying this whisky.
Intrigued about Bowmore? Check out our other comparison between their range? Bowmore 12 vs 15.