Bowmore Islay Single Malt Whisky Announces Release Of 1957 - 54 Year Old - 17th September, 2012

Bowmore Islay Single Malt Whisky Announces Release Of Bowmore 1957 - 54 Years Old

The Oldest Bowmore and Oldest Islay Single Malt Ever Released ~

A Whisky Collector's Dream Come True:

Bottles No. 1 and No. 2 to be Auctioned at Bonhams in Edinburgh and New York City this October with net Proceeds Donated to Charity

Bowmore Islay Single Malt Whisky Announces Release Of 1957 - 54 Year OldIslay, Scotland (September 17, 2012) – Bowmore Distillery, the first Islay Single Malt whisky, will release its oldest ever expression this October: the exceptionally rare Bowmore 1957, 54 Years Old. Not only is this the oldest whisky the distillery has ever released, it is also the oldest IslaySingle Malt ever released.

Distilled in 1957 and bottled in 2011, this marvel has been lying in wait in the finest oak for over half a century in Bowmore’s legendary No. 1 Vaults, the oldest maturation warehouse in Scotland. With only 12 bottles in existence worldwide, this is the rarest Bowmore and will no doubt become one of the most sought-after and collectible Single Malt Scotch Whiskies in the world.

Bottles No. 1 and No. 2 will be offered at a public auction at esteemed international auction house Bonhams in Edinburgh on Oct 10 and in New York City on Oct 28 with a minimum reserve set at £100,000 per bottle (approx. $155,000). All net proceeds from both saleswill be donated to five Scottish charities.  

Many generations have been the custodians of Bowmore 1957’s long journey from cask to bottle. Beginning in 1779 when Bowmore was established through to the present day, the distillery team has served as guardians of Bowmore’swhisky-making traditions and its inventory, safeguarding them so that future generations can continue to experience the unique spirit that is Bowmore. Bowmore 1957 was as much nurtured by the people as it was by its cask and the ancient distillery walls. 

A collection of 1957 casks were bottled in 1995 but one in particular was held back from the outset as it was clear that it was more special and exceptional than the rest. Since 1995, the whisky in that cask has been examined every six months to check the quality, taste, developments and changes; closely watched to see how long the whisky could mature without losing Bowmore’s signature trait of a sweet/smoky balance.

Andrew Rankin, Morrison Bowmore’s Chief Blender, comments: “Upon checking the whisky in early 2011, we knew it had reached perfection at 54 years of age. Bowmore 1957 has withstood the test of time astoundingly well and is nothing short of brilliance in a glass.”

The Auction

Widely considered as one of the leading collectible Single Malts in the world, the Bonhams’ auctions for the Bowmore1957 are certain to quicken the heartbeats of whisky collectors around the world. Auctions are slated for Edinburgh on October 10 ( and in New York City on October 28 ( with bids accepted live in each location as well as live internet bidding. Enquiries regarding bidding can be directed to The minimum reserve set by Bonhams is £100,000 per bottle, the highest reserve ever set for a Single Malt Whisky. Says Martin Green, Bonhams’ Whisky Specialist, “We, at Bonhams, are very excited to offer at auction the rarest and oldest expression of Bowmore. This iconic bottling, the most mature spirit ever to come from Islay, has been watched over for 54 years and is in impeccable condition.”

The Charitable Donation

Morrison Bowmore Distillers, producers of Bowmore, have chosen to donate all the net proceeds of both auctions to five Scottish charities that encompass a variety of worthy causes: ALZHEIMER SCOTLAND (care for people with dementia, their caregivers and families); THE BEATSON ONCOLOGY CENTRE (care for cancer patients receiving treatment in the west of Scotland); CHAS (children’s hospice services); ERSKINE (medical care for Armed Forces); and MARIE CURIE CANCER CARE (cancer care and research). Mike Keiller, Morrison Bowmore Distillers ChiefExecutive Officer, says: “The notion of having a cask from 1957 that can still produce something so glorious shows the acute attention to detail and care that we pride ourselves on at Morrison Bowmore. The fact that we can take some of the precious cargo from this cask to help the lives of so many across many different communities through our charitable contribution, we thought we should help Scottish charities with this rare piece of Scotch whisky history.”

The Unique Presentation

Bowmore has been distilling and perfecting its celebrated Single Malt on Islay since 1779, using time-honored traditions that have not changed since. Bowmore is one of the few distilleries that still turns its floor-malted barley by hand, checks the germinating barley by rolling it between finger and thumb and judges the “middle cut” of new made spirit by eye to determine the best liquid to fill the casks that will mature into well-aged Bowmore. 

No attention to detail has been missed in making this precious spirit, and thesame hand-crafted thoughtfulness has been applied to the vessel and presentation box that carries the Bowmore 1957. Each of the 12 bottles has been hand-blown and sculpted by two of the world’s foremost glass artists Brodie Nairn and Nichola Burns, into the shape ofwaves reminiscent of those that constantly crash against the No. 1 Vaults’ sea-facing walls, whilst the glass is inlaid with shimmering flecks of platinum.

Adorning each bottle is a platinum neck collar, hand-engraved with the bottle number and spirit strength, and platinum stopper hand-crafted by Hamilton & Inches, Warrant Holder to the Queen. The bottle and accompanying glasses and water pitcher, also hand-blown by Nairn and Burns, are nestled in a presentation box created by acclaimed woodworker Peter Toaig, using hand-selected pieces of Scottish Oak. View artisans’ videos here:

The Allocation Of 12 Bottles

Only 12 bottles of the rarest Bowmore 1957 have been created. Two of these will be auctioned, two have been retained for the Morrison Bowmore archives and the remaining eight will be available for purchase by the public solely at the Bowmore Distillery on Islay. The retail price for Bowmore 1957 will be £100,000 (approx. $155,000). Islay is the whisky-making mecca for many aficionados and those people who make the special journey to purchase Bowmore 1957 will be captivated by this magical island’s craggy coasts, windswept moors and friendly inhabitants.

The Cask Maturation And Tasting Notes

Bowmore 1957 (42.1%) is a symphony of aromas and flavors never before experienced. After distillation, the new spirit was placed into a second fill sherry cask (where it spent 43 years) and then in2000 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 oakyovertones 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 fusewith 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.

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