Press Release

Sotheby’s to offer Bowmore ARC-52: The ‘Mokume Edition’

By Sotheby's
A unique decanter specially designed by Aston Martin featuring a unique 52-year-old vintage whisky from the Bowmore Distillery

*A unique bottle, a unique whisky

Auction in London on 26 May 2023

LONDON, 25 April 2023 – Operating as leaders of industry in their respective fields, the partnership between Bowmore® Single Malt Whisky and Aston Martin has already proved to be the perfect marriage of innovation and craftsmanship. The iconic and critically acclaimed Bowmore® has long been an object of desire for whisky afficionados, while the cars produced by ultra-luxury British brand Aston Martin are renowned for both their performance and their style, and exclusivity.

This spring, the two brands will once again unite to produce a unique bottle of one of the distillery’s oldest ever whiskies, the precious spirit housed within a ground-breaking Aston Martin design. A single decanter containing a special assemblage of the 52-year-old vintage whisky has been created as a totally unique objet d’art which will never again be repeated. Like the vessel within which it lies, the whisky is also a one-off – a spectacular marriage of some of the oldest Bowmore vintages from the 1960s, an iconic era of Bowmore distilling, created by Ron Welsh, Master Blender.

Bowmore® ARC-52 Mokume Edition will be offered at auction by Sotheby’s in London on 26 May 2023, with an estimate of £140,000-220,000 ($175,000-275,000). The winning bidder will also have an opportunity to enjoy an experience at Bowmore Distillery and on Islay, experiencing the limited-edition Aston Martin DBX Bowmore Edition, the brand’s first luxury SUV. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to a long-term, dedicated fund to support the people of Islay across a range of vital initiatives with the key goal of supporting and futureproof Islay’s distilling industry for tomorrow by investing in today.

The concept for this one of one Edition takes its name from the Japanese metalworking technique ‘Mokume-Gane’ which produces a mixed-metal laminate with distinctive layered patterns. The carbon fibre top of the decanter has been created using a unique process which mirrors the mokume texture and mimics a natural aesthetic, much like wood grain or layered natural rock. The finish achieved can be said to imitate both the black rocks in the bay of Loch Indaal, home to the Bowmore Distillery, and also the inside of the charred cask where special 52-year-old whisky was aged. A truly multi-dimensional single malt, this masterpiece has been crafted from spectacular marriage of some of the oldest Bowmore vintages from the 1960s, an iconic era of Bowmore distilling.

“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. Bowmore consistently push boundaries with their design concepts and their whiskies are truly world beating. Partnering with them once again to offer this one-off opportunity to whisky enthusiasts represents an exciting moment for Sotheby’s and the market for rare spirits.”
Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s Head of Whisky & Spirits, North America and EMEA
“As makers of bespoke and beautiful objects, proportion, shape, and form, along with careful selection of colours and materials, are incredibly important to us at Aston Martin. And sometimes, nature can be the best of all designers. So, for inspiration of the decanter for this ingenious and special one-off ARC-52 Mokume Edition, we turned to the black rocks in the bay of Loch Indaal, home to the Bowmore Distillery. 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. We think the vessel containing this magnificent whiskey reflects the rarity and distinctiveness of the precious spirit found inside.”
Marek Reichman, Executive Vice President & Chief Creative Officer, Aston Martin
“The very concept of ARC is itself spectacular in both form and contents, but this one-off creation adds even greater depth, intrigue, and inspiration to the story of ARC. 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.”
Ron Welsh, Master Blender at Bowmore

In 2022, Bowmore® and Aston Martin unveiled ARC-52, a striking decanter unlike anything ever seen before. The cutting-edge engineering of Aston Martin and the unfaltering attention to detail and craftsmanship of Bowmore® came together to produce only 100 of these futuristic vessels housing a complex, exceptionally rare 52-year-old single malt.

The idea for the Bowmore® ARC-52 decanter was to chart a journey from past to present – the arc of time – with a futuristic take on a whisky vessel. The design seamlessly merges natural and man-made contours, its form appearing to be almost weightless as it balances on two points. The starting point was grounded in the principles of Aston Martin design, to create proportions that look stable, yet refined and light – an equilibrium that is one of the driving imperatives in car design. The vessel’s design incorporates the latest 3D printing and hand-crafted clay modelling in realising its form. Calling on the exacting principles of achieving balance and optimal form that is intrinsic to Aston Martin’s design DNA, the result is a timelessly beautiful piece of art that is a true coming together of heritage and innovation.

Notes to editors

In February 2021, Sotheby’s sold a bottle of Black Bowmore Aston Martin DB5 for $118,750. Launched by Bowmore in 2020, of the 27 bottles produced, 25 were released, with the two remaining bottles destined for Bowmore Distillery’s archive. Of all Aston Martin’s models, the DB5 reigns supreme as its most iconic, since its rise to stardom in the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger.

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 taking its inspiration from the terroir of its island home – sold for £400,000 / $532,340. In 2017 a DB1/1 sold at RM Sotheby’s Californian auction for $22.5 million, making it the most valuable British car ever sold at auction.

Bowmore ARC-52 Mokume Edition tasting notes:

CASK TYPES: European oak Sherry seasoned and American oak Hogshead
AGE: 52 Years Old, 1968
ABV: 43.5%

Tasting notes

ON THE EYE: Deep burnished gold.
BREATHE IN: Fresh and fruity notes with a nod to the rich sweetness of Creme Brulé, sees the emergence aromas of apricots, green apples, orange zest and guava. Herbal notes of fresh menthol, eucalyptus and liquorice root provide a contrasting yet balanced character
TASTE: Honey sweet, fruity, and citric characters from flavours of green apple, apricot and tangerine are seamlessly merged with the nutty notes of macadamia and walnuts. Oaky notes unite with light peat for a mouth warming delight.
SAVOUR: Long and mouth drying with a touch of marine minerality.


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