By Charles Passy
Single-malt Scotch can be a rarefied pleasure. Especially a single malt from Bowmore, a distillery with a history extending back to 1779. It’s also a distillery from Islay, the Scottish isle known for producing whisky with a smoky — or peated — taste.
But can such a pleasure be worth $65,000?
That is indeed the eye-popping price tag of this new release from the brand, one that has been aged for 31 years and has been made in collaboration with the luxury car maker Aston Martin. Just 25 bottles are being offered for sale through select outlets.
The idea is to celebrate 1964. That’s the year when Bowmore first started distilling its ever-rare Black Bowmore releases. (It has offered other bottlings at select times.) It’s also when Aston Martin saw its DB5 car become an automotive icon, thanks to its appearance in the James Bond film, “Goldfinger.”
“We are committed to creating our own individual products with an absolute and definitive attention to detail. By bringing them together, we believe we can enhance and amplify the experiences we can offer our customers,” says Bowmore distillery manager David Turner of the collaboration with Aston Martin.
The packaging of this Black Bowmore is also distinctive in that the bottle incorporates an actual Aston Martin piston. But no driver’s license is apparently required for this “ride.”
So rare is this Bowmore that we couldn’t convince the brand to offer us a thimble’s worth to sample. So we’ll have to take their word about the flavor. To quote the brand’s tasting notes, you should expect “intense flavors of mango, passion fruit and acacia honey interwoven with a powerful combination of coffee and tobacco smoke.”
But while we can’t offer thoughts about this Bowmore rarity, we have tried other Bowmore bottles of a much more affordable nature. You can’t go wrong with Bowmore’s 15 Year Old release, priced at $100. It brings together smoke and notes of ripe tropical fruit and caramel in a seamless way. In a word, yum.
If you can afford this bottle, we’re not sure you should sip it or display it on your mantle as a kind of liquid trophy. That said, the Bowmore team suggests enjoying some of its rarer releases neat or just with a drop or two of water “to appreciate the incredible depth of flavor.”