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Bowmore auctions 52-year-year old whisky in decanter designed by Aston Martin

The limited-edition Bowmore ARC-52 will go under the hammer at Sotheby’s on 26 May, with an estimate of £140,000 to £220,000.

Bowmore will auction off a 52-year-old vintage whisky housed in a unique decanter designed by luxury carmaker Aston Martin.

It marks the culmination of an intriguing partnership between the two iconic British brands, which also yielded a Bowmore range called Designed by Aston Martin.

Bowmore ARC-52: The Mokume Edition features a ‘spectacular marriage’ of some of the oldest Bowmore vintages from the 1960s, according to Sotheby’s.

Aston Martin took inspiration from a Japanese metalworking technique called ‘Mokume-Gane’ when working on the decanter design.

The finish aims to imitate both the black rocks in the bay of Loch Indaal, where the Bowmore Distillery is located, and the inside of the charred cask in which the 52-year-old whisky was aged.

‘Bowmore’s Mokume encapsulates all the hallmarks of a collector’s perfect whisky: a collaborative venture with Aston Martin to create an exceptional vessel containing a unique liquid of exceptional quality, never to be bottled again,’ said Jonny Fowle, head of whisky and spirits at Sotheby’s. ‘Bowmore consistently push boundaries with their design concepts and their whiskies are truly world beating.’

Sotheby’s has set records for both Bowmore and Aston Martin in recent years. In December 2021, a bottle of Bowmore Onyx 51 Year Old 1970 – presented in a hand-blown, 1.4l black glass vessel – fetched £400,000.

In 2017, an Aston Martin DB1/1 sold at Sotheby’s in California for $22.5m, making it the most valuable British car ever sold at auction.

It hopes to enjoy a similar level of success at the upcoming auction in London. The winning bidder will also be given a VIP experience at Bowmore Distillery, including a tour of Islay in the brand’s first luxury SUV, the Aston Martin DBX Bowmore Edition.

All proceeds will go to a fund designed to support the people of Islay and future-proof the island’s distilling industry.

Bowmore master blender Ron Welsh, who is gearing up for retirement, said: ‘By creating this unique Mokume edition, we can also fulfil our ambition to give back to our homeplace through The Bowmore Legacy, by offering collectors and Bowmore lovers something truly special and desirable.

‘As one of my last projects for Bowmore, this one is exceptionally close to my heart and is the perfect climax to an incredibly rewarding and exciting career.’

The decanter itself is designed as a unique objet d’art, which will never be repeated. Marek Reichman, the chief creative officer and executive vice president at Aston Martin, said his team turned to the black rocks in Loch Indaal for inspiration.

‘We imagined walking those picturesque shores, at magic light, and discovering this wonderous treasure, shaped over eons of time by the elements, suddenly appearing at your feet,’ he added. ‘We think the vessel containing this magnificent whisky reflects the rarity and distinctiveness of the precious spirit found inside.’


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