Nose: Here we have Bowmore’s signature gentle peat and smoke mixed with a very sweet, candied sherry. Maraschino cherries, red licorice, strawberry syrup, and a sweet, light caramel. There’s also leather, salt, cinnamon, praline, and toffee. There is an oak note here, but it’s nowhere near as rich as the wood from the Darkest. Very sweet and gently smoky, but not very subtle or complex.
Palate: Very much a continuation of the nose, but with stronger peat. The peat and sherry come on simultaneously, however they don’t seem to interact. Candy flavours are here; once again giving us maraschino cherries, licorice, and strawberry syrup. Meanwhile the peat continues to offer salt, leather, and praline.
Finish: The smoke takes the lead here. There’s a lingering tobacco note, and those maraschino cherries persist. Salt and light caramel. Some drying oak comes in, but it’s not the strong, rich oak presence that I enjoy so much in the Darkest.
Thoughts: Unsurprisingly, this pales in comparison to its older brother. Not only is the Enigma more “candied,” but it has a lower abv, less depth, less integration of flavours, and less of the rich woodiness that I love in the Darkest. The sherry and peat seem to be working apart from one another; the flavours don’t seem to intersect. And as I mentioned earlier, this is not very nuanced.
So then why do I still like this? Well for one thing it’s cheap, and it’s sold in a 1L bottle. It’s a good casual sipper if you’re a fan of sherry and peat. Simple, fun, and easy. Why not?