I've never had a Bowmore I liked. Search this forum for Bowmore references, you will find that it has been discussed quite a bit, and there is no shortage of opinion on the stuff! Most of the talk revolves around the infamous "French Whore Perfume" (FWP), in my opinion an unforgivable slight to French whores. Official bottlings seem to reek of this perfumey air, while some folks say that independent bottlings don't suffer from it. My theory is that the stillman wears too much after-shave. (This led to discussion on why some bottles of Talisker and others have dandruff-like flakes in them, but I digress.)
If you like the stuff, good on ya. Somebody must, because they keep making it. That's what makes the world go 'round.
I share your dilemma......I've been exploring a bottle of Darkest for quite a few months now, and I finally concluded only a week or so ago that I don't like it. Something in it is just out of balance and doesn't integrate with the malt.
However, we are speaking of recent bottlings. When it was first launched five or six years ago, it was a great dram, and a few of the regular contributors here have also made similar statements.
If you can find a bottling from around 2000 or so, then you'll find something worth drinking and getting excited about.
I don't think I like the 12 year old. I was talking to someone in the business in Scotland (I cannot remember who) and they said that Bowmore used to be supreme and it's a crying shame what they have done to their whiskys over the last number of years...