The first in a new series pairing the artistry of graphic illustration - from acclaimed artist Frank Quitely - with whisky making to reinterpret an ancient Islay myth
October 11, 2021 – For over 240 years, Bowmore Distillery has been capturing the essence of Islay from the shores of its remote island home. But the island itself has a far-reaching history peppered with the most intriguing of myths and legends. Rich stories tell of a bygone era that are no less captivating now, as they were then. Today, in an all-new series, Bowmore celebrate this legacy and the rich legends of its hometown with the unveiling of two new whiskies in the first release of Bowmore No Corners to Hide. An intriguing collaboration between acclaimed graphic artist Frank Quitely, who has illustrated for Marvel and DC Comics, and Bowmore’s Master Blender Ron Welsh, to create a visual and sensory masterpiece.
Taking inspiration from this ancient Islay myth, each bottle in the collaboration features exclusive designs and artwork from Frank Quitely, illustrating the story from Bowmore’s island home and embodying the artistic expression of Bowmore’s style. The limited-edition series features two stunning single malts aged 23 and 32 year old, which are exclusively available in selected travel retail destinations.
The 23-Year-Old began its journey with 21 years nurtured in ex-bourbon American oak hogsheads, to create the signature style of Bowmore. Two years of further maturation followed in Essencia® barriques creating a distinctive character alluding to, and conjuring up, a sensory exploration of this definitive tale combines. This captures a hint of beeswax, a scent of incense and a struck match to transport the senses to Bowmore’s round church. Whilst sweet flavours of golden syrup, acacia honey and marzipan combine with the unmistakable subtle peat smoke, adding tingling medicinal and spice to the nose. Each bottle is decorated with illustrations and sketches from Frank Quitely, further bringing the story to life.
The 32-Year-Old captures a moment in time; a story as captivating as the myth it celebrates. An initial 30 years of maturation in ex-bourbon American oak hogsheads reflects a timely occupation in cask, much like the devil’s own alleged escape, followed by two further years in Essencia® barriques to bring an unusually distinctive character to the fore, again combining beeswax, incense and struck match. Evolving to Seville orange peel merged with the aromas of an old cigar box, but with sweet and floral interjections end finishing with a touch of liquorice and iodine, intriguing and ingenious in equal measure. Each bottle comes complete with a signed print from Quitely, alongside original sketches and notes from the whisky making process.
On the whisky making process Master Blender Ron Welsh said “Much like the devil, both aged spirits took their own particularly unusual defining journey in Essencia® barriques, a peculiarly rare ‘Rose Oak’ dating back to the 1830s. The tasting notes reflect the notes from the story and in each sip transport you to that cold winter’s night.”
Through his inspiring creative lens, Frank reinterprets this story; paying homage to a legend which has shaped the village of Bowmore and our distillery home. As the story goes, back in 1837, on a clear winter’s evening, the devil visited the church in Bowmore. This is no ordinary church. Strikingly round in shape, purposely built, in preparation for such a visit as there were no corners in which the devil could hide. Despite the best efforts of the local congregation who chased the devil from the church to the Bowmore distillery where they bolted the gates and locked the doors, the search proved fruitless and the devil had vanished. That night, The Maid of Islay, a small paddle steamer used for transporting Bowmore whisky, was loaded with casks for the mainland. The devil was never found, but it’s believed that he hid himself in a cask, where ironically, there too are no corners to hide.
Calling on his earliest memories of Scottish folklore, Quitely is no stranger to the role of the devil in many an epic tale. Today thirty years since his creative journey began, his status as a master storyteller is cemented in the world of graphic illustration and his accolades are themselves awe-inspiring. “To get the call from Bowmore, a legendary icon in the world of whisky, was offering me the opportunity of retelling the Islay Legend No Corners to Hide was hugely exciting” says Quitely. He continues, “And to do this in a single image would prove massively challenging but taking inspiration in the Devil himself, it’s all in the detail.”
Bowmore No Corners to Hide is available exclusively in select Global Travel Retail outlets including Heathrow, Amsterdam Schipol, Dubai and Singapore Chaingi at an RSP of $400 23-year-old and $2,995 32-year-old. Today marks the first release in the collaboration and will see a number of stories come to life over the coming years, regaling tales from Bowmore’s legendary past.
23 Year Old (51.5%)
COLOUR: Deep Gold
NOSE: Medicinal, floral, and spicy, with fragrance of white roses, peonies, sweet peas, and gardenias.
TASTE: Sweet notes of golden syrup, acacia honey and marzipan with peaty sooty taste and oily peppery mouthfeel.
FINISH: Creamy, lightly salty, and spicy.
6666 bottles only
32 Year Old (47.3%)
COLOUR: Burnished Gold
NOSE: Zesty Seville orange peel, old cigar box, Manuka honey, salted caramel, and light gorse flower
TASTE: Touch of liquorice, sweet fresh tobacco, oak spice, nutmeg, peppercorn and cloves, vanilla, peat smoke and iodine.
FINISH: Mouth warming, dry grass, and subtle smoke.
666 bottles only
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 1779.
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.
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ABOUT FRANK QUITELY
Born in Glasgow in 1968, Vincent Deighan loved to draw. His dream was to make this his career. After studying Drawing and Painting at Glasgow School of Art, he began his creative exploration through the world of comic fiction.
Carving an impressive career from the Scottish underground comic scene, he adopted the pseudonym Frank Quitely, a name now synonymous with cutting edge visual storytelling.
His list of creative accolades ranges from the cult scene to the blockbuster domain, from Marvel to DC Comics. Credited with assisting the reimagination of Superman and the X-Men during the 2000s, Quitely’s back catalogue reads like a who’s who of leading, inspiring, and game-changing graphic artistry
In 2017, an exhibition of his work went on show at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Later that year, Vincent received an honorary degree as a Doctor of Letters from the University of Glasgow, in recognition of his achievements.