An exceptionally rare, one-off 51 Year Old single malt, Bowmore® Onyx has been sold at the inaugural Distillers One of One auction for a record price of £400,000/$532,340* in Edinburgh today, cementing the Islay distillery’s commitment to charitable giving and Bowmore’s desirability in the secondary market.
A truly striking encapsulation of time, with over half a century of craftsmanship, quality and character embedded in its creation and story, Bowmore® Onyx is a hand blown black glass vessel, containing 1.4litres of ultra-rare whisky. Inspired by the incredible terroir of our island home, specifically the distinctive black rock, or bogha mor, from which it is believed the name Bowmore is derived, this one-off rare masterpiece was highly sought after with bidders keen to add it to their collection.
Matured in an American Oak refill barrel, which was filled on 17th February 1970, this single malt was the first 51 Year Old ever released by the distillery and the auction was the only opportunity for bid for this Bowmore® Onyx. Nurtured in the legendary Bowmore® No. 1 Vaults, this whisky spent its long life resting quietly in the cool, dark, damp cellars below sea level, oblivious to the waves thrashing the vault’s sea-facing wall, slowly evolving its distinctive character.
This single malt is very much defined and shaped by over 50 years in oak, however the influence of Islay remains a constant. Burnished gold in colour, the exquisite fresh and fruity aromas thrill the nose with the sweetness of stewed white flesh peaches balanced with the punchy notes of menthol and eucalyptus. Then signature peat smoke sneaks in alongside woody notes of polished cedarwood and burnt caramel. The tantalising taste of sweet orchard fruit and spices excite the palate as tobacco, earthy walnuts and pecan nuts lead to a mouth warming, long lasting finish.
The creation of the one-off glass structure celebrates Islay, but more than that, it is itself a masterpiece in glass design being the first structure of this size and style to ever house Bowmore. Hand blown using highly skilled and creative techniques from the expert team at Glasstorm, who previously crafted the exclusive Bowmore® 1957 which sold at Sotheby’s for £363,000, and the stunning Black Bowmore DB5 1964, this beautiful art piece takes direct inspiration from the striking rock formations of Islay.
Commenting on the project, Francois Bazini, Managing Director – Scotch, Gin & Irish at Beam Suntory said, “This is another incredible milestone in the evolution of Bowmore, and cements its position has a hugely creative, desirable and committed brand. But vitally be part of this auction and achieve this record price for Onyx means we can continue in our philanthropic endeavours to the benefit of Scotland’s young people. This is a great day for Bowmore, and also for the establishment of a new legacy.”
Proceeds from The Distillers One of One auction will benefit The Youth Action Fund, which has been created by The Distillers’ Charity focusing on supporting disadvantaged young people in Scotland, transforming their life chances and empowering them to create positive change in their lives and communities. Working with charity partners who offer education and training programmes, the fund will provide young people with opportunities to develop life skills, discover their values and be work-ready.
Earlier this year, the Islay distillery unveiled the Bowmore Legacy project to support employability, training and housing needs of Bowmore’s young people, enabling a range of vital outcomes from affordable and supported housing to key employment skills for young people with barriers to employment. The key goal of the Bowmore Legacy is to futureproof the island’s distilling industry for tomorrow by investing in young people’s needs today.
*Final price includes buyer’s premium of 25% of hammer price (£320,000/$425,870)
For more information please contact: Bowmore@saucecommunications.com
For over 240 years, the Bowmore Distillery has been capturing the essence of Islay from the shores of its remote island home. Shaped by centuries of skill and tradition, Bowmore’s single malt harnesses the power of this time in every single drop, defined by the past and savoured in the present.
Time is defining at Bowmore® and we tirelessly harness the power of time to shape our whiskies. Our distillery’s adherence to traditional production methods helps to shape the character of our fruity and smoky single malts. Today, we are amongst one of a few distilleries which still produces its own floor malted barley, hand-turned by a traditional wooden malt shovel and hand drawn machinery. Water for the whiskies is specially drawn from the Laggan River, with its rich peaty overtones – the same Islay peat that fires the malt-drying kiln.
Bowmore® Distillery’s proximity to the sea is also vital in determining the final character of its spirit and gives a hint of sea air to the character. The legendary Bowmore® No. 1 Vaults is where most of the whiskies spend their long lives resting quietly in the cool, dark, damp cellars below sea level, oblivious to the waves thrashing the vault’s sea-facing wall.
Matured in oak casks, previously used for bourbon, sherry, or claret, over time developing rich and mellow flavours until the expertise of our whisky makers deems them ready for bottling. It is this combination of peat, barley, sea breeze, water, wood, people, and tradition that makes Bowmore the exceptional single malt it is today.
Time is marked on each and every bottle of Bowmore, proudly and boldly as a marker of where and when each one’s journey began. This is our story of time. This is Bowmore; the Art of Time since 1777.
About Beam Suntory
As a world leader in premium spirits, Beam Suntory inspires human connections. Consumers from all corners of the globe call for the company’s brands, including the iconic Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbon brands, Suntory whisky Kakubin and Courvoisier cognac, as well as world renowned premium brands including Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s and Legent bourbon; Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki and Toki Japanese whisky; Teacher’s, Laphroaig and Bowmore Scotch whisky; Canadian Club whisky; Hornitos and Sauza tequila; EFFEN, Haku and Pinnacle vodka; Sipsmith and Roku gin; and Midori liqueur.
Beam Suntory was created in 2014 by combining the world leader in bourbon and the pioneer in Japanese whisky to form a new company with a deep heritage, passion for quality, innovative spirit and vision of Growing for Good. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Beam Suntory is a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Limited of Japan. For more information on Beam Suntory, its brands, and its commitment to social responsibility, please visit www.beamsuntory.com and www.drinksmart.com.
© 2021 Beam Suntory, Inc., Merchandise Mart, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 1600, Chicago, IL 60654. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
About the Bowmore Legacy Fund
The ground-breaking Bowmore Legacy project supports the employability, training and housing needs of Bowmore’s young people, enabling a range of vital outcomes from affordable and supported housing to key employment skills for young people with barriers to employment. The key goal of the Bowmore Legacy is to futureproof the island’s distilling industry for tomorrow by investing in young people’s needs today.
About The Distillers’ One of One
Launched in 2021, the Distillers’ One of One is a biennial series of auctions of Scottish whisky in aid of disadvantaged young people in Scotland. Led by The Distiller’s Charity, the philanthropic arm of The Worshipful Company of Distillers, and in partnership with Sotheby’s, the Scotch Whisky industry has gathered together to support philanthropy. Participating distilleries are donating ultra-rare whisky and experiences for sale at auction aiming to raise in excess of £1 million during the initial 3 December 2021 auction.
In order to help transform the life chances of young people in Scotland post pandemic, The Distillers’ Charity has created the Youth Action Fund. The proceeds from the Distillers’ One of One auction will be disbursed from the fund to a number of charities that focus on empowering Scotland’s young adults to create positive change in their lives and communities. Sotheby’s will also donate a portion of their buyer’s premium from the auction to The Distillers’ Charity.