Wednesday, September 19, 2012
New release - Bowmore 54 years old
As mentioned Bowmore is located on Islay, an island which lies off the west coast of Scotland. It is the oldest distillery on the island, having been founded in 1779 by John Simpson. Bowmore is currently owned by Morrison Bowmore, who have been in control since 1963. They are a subsidiary of the larger Suntory drinks company from Japan, who acquired Morrison Bowmore in 1989. The core range of Bowmore single malts is extensive, both in domestic and travel retail markets, and the annual production capacity of the distillery is two million litres.
There are only 12 bottles of this 54 years old whisky for sale. Bottles No.1 and No.2 are to be auctioned in October, one in Edinburgh and one in New York, with all the proceeds going to selected Scottish charities. The minimum reserve price is £100,000 (or $155,000) each. The other 10 bottles will be available through luxury retailers for £100,000. The whisky is bottled at the natural cask strength of 42.1% ABV and has been maturing for 43 years in a second-fill ex-sherry cask, before being transferred to a second-fill ex-bourbon cask. Check out the special video below ...
We, along with most whisky drinkers and fans, will sadly never get to taste this old Islay gem. Therefore we will have to allow Bowmore's tasting notes to paint a picture - "An elixir of blueberries, wild figs, almonds, tropical fruit and rich oaky overtones hits the nose. The palate reveals layer upon layer of sweet, refined ocean tastes with blueberries, cassis and figs, sea salt and fresh eucalyptus. A wisp of teasing smoke and traces of dark chocolate fuse with notes of grapefruit and oak. This sensory journey ends with a long and whispering finish of cassis, bergamot and star anise".
What interested us about this release, probably even more than the thought of the whisky, was the amount of craftsmanship involved. We are not just talking about the skill of those at Morrison Bowmore who have nurtured this whisky through its 54 years, but those involved in the presentation. These include Hamilton & Inches who designed and hand engraved the platinum neck tag and stopper, Glasstorm who hand blew and sculptured each bottle plus the accompanying tumblers and water jug, and Peter Toaig who designed and hand made each of the presentation boxes.
These craftsmen have been presented by Bowmore in a set of videos and we have enjoyed watching them at work and describing what they were doing. We thought we would share them too. Enjoy ...
The fact that this whisky is so rare or inaccessible to the majority of whisky fans, does not mean that Bowmore should not release it or that we should not write about it. There has been much negative commentary from whisky writers, bloggers and aficionados about this new Bowmore since the story broke a couple of weeks ago. However, this bottling is no different to those from other distilleries or brands that have been released in the past ... apart from the fact that Bowmore are donating £200,000 to charity.
The whisky industry needs high-end, rare prestige bottlings to sit alongside its core products, much as any drinks or consumer retail category does. Therefore Bowmore, or any other whisky company for that matter, should be congratulated for showcasing such a prestigious whisky and local craftsmen at the top of their field, rather than being castigated for it ...