Bowmore is the oldest distillery on Islay and is famous for producing extraordinary bottlings such as the Black Bowmore and the White Bowmore, as well as their better known (and more affordable) Bowmore 12 Year Old and Bowmore 18 Year Old. In addition to these they have also produced the tasty sherry cask Bowmore Darkest and the stormy cask strength bottling of the Bowmore Tempest.
This, however, is the Bowmore 1957, which was bottled in 2011 after 54 years of cask ageing. In 1995 a number of casks of Bowmore were bottled, but one cask was kept in the legendary Bowmore No. 1 Vaults, the oldest whisky maturation warehouse on the island. This cask has been monitored every six months until it was deemed to have reached perfection.
The bottles have been beautifully hand-blown and sculpted into the shape of the waves that pound the walls of No. 1 Vault by renowned glass artists Brodie Nairn and Nichola Burns. The glass has also been flecked with platinum to create a shimmering sea-like effect.
Bowmore 1957 54 Year Old
Only twelve bottles of this soon to be legendary bottling have been released. Bottles One and Two will go up for auction respectively at Bonham’s in Edinburgh on October 10th and in New York on October 28th, with a reserve price of £100,000. Two bottles will be archived by Bowmore and the final eight bottles will be on sale for £100,000 in the distillery shop. All the net proceeds from the sales will be donated to five Scottish charities.
So what does it taste like? Bowmore have been kind enough to tell us:
“Bowmore 1957 (42.1%) is a symphony of aromas and flavours never before experienced. After distillation, the new spirit was placed into a second fill sherry cask (where it spent 43 years) and then in 2000 was moved into a second fill bourbon cask. At first breath, an elixir of blueberries and wild figs with mellow almonds, tropical fruit and rich oaky overtones hits the nose. The palate reveals layer upon layer of sweet and refined ocean tastes with soft blueberries, cassis and figs, sea salt and fresh eucalyptus. Next, a wisp of teasing smoke and traces of dark chocolate fuse with notes of grapefruit and juicy oak, carried along by a warming marine breeze. This sensory journey ends with a long and whispering finish of cassis, bergamot and star anise.”