Two classic brands converge: Bowmore and Aston Martin unveil £50,000 collaborative whisky launch

Bowmore Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky and famed British luxury sports car Aston Martin today unveiled the first in a series of joint creations, an ultra-limited-edition Islay single malt called Black Bowmore DB5 1964, which will sell for £50,000 (US$65,600) a bottle.

As reported, the two brand houses struck a partnership late last year to create a range of exclusive products and experiences [The Moodie Davitt Report will be tracking this partnership closely from today’s launch through coming projects in the months and years ahead].

The first fruits of that alliance feature a crafted single malt whisky from the Beam Suntory-owned brand Bowmore and a genuine Aston Martin DB5 piston.

Black Bowmore DB5 1964, launching in late Autumn, is described by its producers as “one of the most hotly anticipated whisky releases in a generation”. Only 25 bottles will be available at an RRP of £50,000 (US$65,600).

Three of those bottles will be available in global travel retail from 2021, through Beam Suntory partners Lotte Duty Free, Dufry and Gebr Heinemann.

1964 – a vintage year for both brands

The year in the name of the new super-premium product – 1964 – is billed by the partners as “a definitive moment in history for both Bowmore and Aston Martin”.

For Bowmore, 1964 represented a landmark in the island distillery’s 240-year history. It saw the arrival of a new boiler which enabled Bowmore to enter the modern age of distilling as coal fires made way for steam in heating the stills. In that same year, the first distillation from this new boiler produced the spirit which was to become Black Bowmore, described by Bowmore as “a sublimely rich and decadent single malt, reflected in awe-inspiring deep darkness”.

Black Bowmore 1964 tasting notes

On the eye: Deep obsidian black

On the nose: Layers of ripe exotic fruits and creme caramel. As time moves on soft tobacco smoke, aromatic orange peel and rich black cherry come to the fore.

On the palate: Intense flavours of mango, passion fruit and acacia honey interwoven with a powerful combination of coffee and tobacco smoke

On the finish: A long and decadent finish with tropical fruits and spice, defining over 240 years of craftsmanship

Cask type: Williams & Humbert Walnut Brown Oloroso Sherry Butt

Age: 31-years-old

Vintage: 1964

ABV: 49.6%

Bowmore Distillery Manager David Turner said: “1964 represents a significant date in the modern history of the distillery. Not only a key moment in how we distilled our spirit, but perhaps even more significant as this very spirit went on to create Black Bowmore. These defining moments are fundamental to the history of Bowmore. This collaboration with Aston Martin has allowed us to once again showcase this iconic single malt in the most incredible way.”

For Aston Martin, this was the era of its most iconic car. Launched in 1963, the Aston Martin DB5 went on to become one of the world’s most famous cars, aided enormously by its links to the world’s most celebrated secret agent – 007 James Bond – in 1964. This was the year of the Goldfinger movie, with the DB5 making its first appearance in the hands of Bond, played by the inimitable Sean Connery. It has since made appearances in six other Bond films, including the most recent, No Time To Die.

On its debut the DB5 represented a subtle but important evolution over its immediate predecessor, the DB4 Series 5, not least by virtue of an increase in engine capacity to 4.0-litres. This made the DB5 that much more of a sporting saloon which, combined with its exceptional styling, helped it to become one of the most desirable and admired sports cars of its generation.

Sir David Brown, the then owner of Aston Martin Lagonda and the man who gave his initials to the ‘DB’ lineage, said of the car: “I believe it is the essential character of the DB5, and its ability to perform perfectly in all conditions, that makes this car so intensely satisfying to own.”

Aston Martin Lagonda Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman said: “This exciting new association with Bowmore gives us the perfect opportunity to celebrate a vital part of our star-studded history by combining the unrivalled appeal of the iconic DB5 with the cultured flavours of this world-renowned single malt.”

Black Bowmore DB5 1964 is presented in a handmade presentation box. Bowmore said the designers took their inspiration from the distillery’s coastal home, with the deep blue colour and wave embossing “evoking a true sense of place”. Created from string-grain calfskin, the box features a custom solid brass latch and hinges, plated with nickel, reflective of the DB5.
The Black Bowmore DB5 bottle is handcrafted by Glasstorm, a bespoke contemporary glass studio, based in Northeast Scotland. Each bottle took up to one week to complete, with Bowmore noting “the continued thread of attention to detail and skill which defines this collaboration”.

Drink Smart

Any association between alcohol and driving has to be managed carefully and the collaboration between Bowmore and Aston Martin is underpinned by a message to consumers never to drink and drive.

Drink Smart messaging will be integrated into all brand activations around the partnership; while the dedicated Drink Smart platform ensures communication with legal-purchase age adults about making informed, responsible choices.

The latest Black Bowmore release represents only the sixth bottling of this single malt since it was first distilled in 1964. Since 1993, only about 6,000 bottles of Black Bowmore have been made available.

Ed Stening, Global Head of Marketing – Travel Retail at Bowmore brand owner Beam Suntory, said: “We’re immensely proud to share the inaugural creation of this truly iconic collaboration. With only 25 bottles available, a very lucky few will get to own one of the rarest, most sophisticated single malt whiskies ever produced, housed in an exquisitely-designed piece of motor history.”

Beam Suntory and Aston Martin also revealed that they are set to unveil a series of collaborative projects and products over the coming months and years. These will range from “exceptional experiences” to design-led product initiatives with the goal of offering fans of the brands opportunities to connect with the partnership.

Footnote: Beam Suntory is a Platinum Partner at the inaugural Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo to be held this October.

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