London, March 2021 // This April, in association with Sotheby’s Hong Kong, Bowmore® Islay Single Malt Whisky will offer a rare opportunity to acquire a unique collector’s item; the Bowmore Archive Cabinet. Containing all five releases of the iconic Black Bowmore spanning from 1993 to 2016, the bespoke art piece is expected to reach in the region of £400,000 (HK$4,000,000 / US$500,000). Proceeds raised from the auction will go directly to the Islay Development Initiative (IDI) to ensure a lasting legacy at the home of the Bowmore distillery.
Designed by designer and master craftsman John Galvin, the Archive Cabinet captures the true heart and soul of Islay and the Bowmore Distillery. With an impressive career in innovative design, Galvin’s award-winning visionary style has resulted in piece that merges both traditional cabinetmaking with creative techniques. Taking inspiration from his time on Islay and made by hand over two years, the Archive Cabinet uses materials that can be found throughout the distillery, creating a true legacy piece.
A fundamental factor in its creation was ensuring the Cabinet, itself a beacon of its island home, would ‘give back’ to Islay by supporting young people living in the town of Bowmore. The ground-breaking Bowmore Legacy project will see the proceeds utilised to support 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.
Robert Smith, Chairman of Islay Development Initiative, “We are excited, honoured and extremely proud to have been chosen to deliver the Bowmore Legacy project. IDI will make sure this Legacy will have the sustainability of Islay, her young people and her community at its heart to deliver long term benefit – a true Legacy for a one of a kind collection of Black Bowmore.”
David Turner, Distillery Manager commented "Black Bowmore truly defines the spirit of our distillery, but more than that, the spirit of Islay. The journey of this exceptional whisky and the evolution of the distillery as inextricably linked in the past, today and long into the future and this remarkable Archive Cabinet truly brings this heritage to life in a totally unique way. What makes it even more special is the launch of the Bowmore Legacy which will support and protect future generations and can now be realised with the proceeds raised through this auction.”
The Sotheby’s Wine & Spirit Spring Sale Series in Hong Kong will take place on 16-18 April.
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About the Bowmore Archive Cabinet
Celebrating the pioneering spirit of Bowmore, each detail of the Cabinet tells a story of time and evolution. From the striking black exterior reflective of the stone strata of Islay to the charred ripples inspired not only by the surrounding water of Islay, but also the distinctive appearance of the No.1 Vaults, every element is connected back to the distillery.
The former Bowmore spirit safe, first used in 1924, has been repurposed on the base of the Cabinet whilst the brass levers take pride of place on the front. These levers themselves are marked with the unique fingerprints of every individual who played their part on the creation of the spirit over the course of its life at Bowmore.
Inside the cabinet, the hand-patinaed copper captures the natural ageing of Bowmore’s own copper stills and kettles, shaped and aged over time by the unique island environment. The use of washback wood for the drawers shows the iron band marking still intact, coupled with the captivating aroma embedded in this material for eternity.
Within the Cabinet, solid brass coasters accompany six hand- made glasses, each representing the life stages of Bowmore through distinctive and individual colour. Housed in the lower drawer is a sketch pad telling the story of the Cabinet’s creation captured by John Galvin.
Created through the process of battuto, a complex hand carving process, five striking glass pillars act as plinths within the Cabinet to elevate and display each of the bottles. Crafted by the master craftsmen of Glasstorm, a bespoke contemporary glass studio, based in North East Scotland, the glass pillars have been made using traditional glass-making techniques with handmade tools. The magnificent structures each tell the individual story of each maturation journey for Black Bowmore. Moving from clear glass through a spectrum of colours, each representing the passing of time of spirit in cask.
Black Bowmore was distilled in 1964 and the spirit was filled into oak casks previously used for maturing sweet Oloroso sherry and transferred to the No. 1 vaults at one of Scotland’s oldest maturation warehouses. Hidden in a special location, this was the perfect environment for long maturation. Capturing decades of character, this collection celebrates this sublimely rich and decadent single malt which defines the heart of Bowmore.
Black Bowmore was initially released in 1993 as a 29-year-old, with further releases of a 30 year old and 31 year old over the following two years. It appeared as part of a trilogy in 2007 (42 year old), and finally in 2016 as “the last cask” (50 year old).
Initially sold for £100, Black Bowmore became one of the most sought-after whiskies in the world for its tropical fruit flavour and the legacy continues today; a whisky that offers an experience like no other, in its alignment of concentration of colour and fragrance, intensity and subtlety, balanced smoke and fruit.
The Archive Cabinet contains a complete distillery owned collection of Black Bowmore from first release to last (1993-2016):
- Release Date: 1993
- Age: 29 Years
- Number of bottles: 2000
- Bottle No.819
- Release Date: 1994
- Age: 30 Years
- Number of bottles: 2000
- Bottle: No.18
- Release Date: 1995
- Age: 31 Years
- Number of bottles: 1812
- Bottle No.7
- Release Date: 2007
- Age: 42 Years
- Number of bottles: 827
- Bottle No.2
- Release date: 2016
- Age: 50 Years
- Number of bottles: 159
- Bottle No.72
Founded in 1779, Bowmore is the oldest distillery of its kind on Islay. Our Scotch maturation warehouse is one of the oldest in the world, and our handcrafted single malt whisky is defined by time and inspired by its home place.
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, which sit below sea level, is where many of the whiskies spend their long lives resting quietly in the cool, dark, damp cellars, 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 1779.
For more information visit www.bowmore.com
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