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Bowmore 1957 – 54 Years Old
Posted September 17, 2012

A Whisky Collector’s Dream Come True:

Bowmore® Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky Announced today the release of  BOWMORE 1957 – 54 YEARS OLD

The Oldest Ever Bowmore  and  the Oldest Islay Single Malt ever released to the public


Bottles No. 1 and No. 2 To Be Auctioned at Bonhams In Edinburgh and New York City this October With All Net Proceeds Donated To Charity

Islay, Scotland (September 17, 2012) –Bowmore®, the first Islay Single Malt whisky, will release its oldest ever expression this October, the exceptionally rare Bowmore 1957, 54 Years Old. Not only is this the oldest whisky the distillery has ever released, it is also the oldest Islay Single Malt ever released. Distilled in 1957 and bottled in 2011, this 54-year-old marvel has been lying in wait in the finest oak for more than half a century in Bowmore’s legendary No. 1 Vaults, the oldest maturation warehouse in all of Scotland. With only 12 bottles in existence in the world, Bowmore 1957 is the oldest and rarest ever Bowmore, ensuring that this will become one of the most sought-after bottlings of one of the world’s most collectible Single Malt Scotch Whiskies. Bottles No. 1 and No. 2 will be offered at a public auction at esteemed international auction house Bonhams in Edinburgh on Oct 10 and in New York City on Oct 28 with a minimum reserve set at £100,000 per bottle (approx. $155,000). All net proceeds from both sales will be donated to five Scottish charities.


Many generations have been the custodians of Bowmore 1957’s long journey from cask to bottle. Beginning in 1779 when Bowmore was established through to the present day, the distillery team has served as guardians of Bowmore’s whisky-making traditions and its inventory, safeguarding them so that future generations can continue to experience the unique spirit that is Bowmore. Bowmore 1957 was as much nurtured by the people as it was by its cask and the ancient distillery walls.

A collection of 1957 casks were bottled in 1995 but one in particular was held back because it was a bit more special, a bit more exceptional than the rest.  Since 1995, the whisky in that cask has been examined every six months to check the quality, the taste, the developments and changes the spirit was taking on its aging voyage. It was also closely watched to see how long the whisky could mature without losing Bowmore’s signature trait of a sweet/smoky balance. Says Morrison Bowmore’s Chief Blender Andrew Rankin, “Upon checking the whisky in early 2011, we knew it had reached perfection at 54 years of age. Bowmore 1957 withstood the test of time astoundingly well and is nothing short of brilliance in a glass.”


The Auction

Bowmore is considered one of the leading collectible Single Malts in the world. With Bowmore 1957 not only being the oldest Bowmore released but also the oldest Islay Single Malt ever released, the Bonhams’ auctions are certain to quicken the heartbeats of whisky collectors around the world. Auctions are set for Edinburgh on October 10 ( and New York City on October 28 ( with bids accepted live in each location as well as live internet bidding. Inquiries regarding bidding can be directed to The minimum reserve set by Bonhams is £100,000 per bottle, the highest reserve ever set for a Single Malt Whisky. Says Martin Green, Bonhams’ Whisky Specialist, “We at Bonhams are very excited to offer at auction the rarest and oldest expression of Bowmore. This iconic bottling, the most mature spirit ever to come from Islay, has been watched over for 54 years and is in impeccable condition.”


The Charitable Donation

Morrison Bowmore Distillers, producers of Bowmore, have chosen to donate all net proceeds of both auctions to five Scottish charities that encompass a variety of worthy causes: ALZHEIMER SCOTLAND (care for people with dementia, their caregivers and families); THE BEATSON ONCOLOGY CENTRE (care for cancer patients receiving treatment in the west of Scotland); CHAS (children’s hospice services); ERSKINE (medical care for Armed Forces); and MARIE CURIE CANCER CARE (cancer care and research). Says Mike Keiller, Morrison Bowmore Distillers Chief Executive Officer, “The notion of having a cask from 1957 that can still produce something so glorious shows the acute attention to detail and care that we pride ourselves on at Morrison Bowmore. By taking some of the precious cargo from this cask to help the lives of so many across many different communities, we thought we should help Scottish charities with this rare piece of Scotch whisky history.”


Cask Maturation And Tasting Notes

This 54-year-old Bowmore 1957 (42.1% ABV) is a symphony of aromas and flavors never before experienced. After distillation in 1957, the new spirit was placed into a second fill sherry cask (where it spent 43 years) and then in 2000 was moved into a second fill bourbon cask. At first breath, an elixir of blueberries and wild figs with mellow almonds, tropical fruit and rich oaky overtones hits the nose. The palate reveals layer upon layer of sweet and refined ocean tastes with soft blueberries, cassis and figs, sea salt and fresh eucalyptus. Next, a wisp of teasing smoke and traces of dark chocolate fuse with notes of grapefruit and juicy oak, carried along by a warming marine breeze. This sensory journey ends with a long and whispering finish of cassis, bergamot and star anise.


About The Bowmore Distillery

Founded in 1779, Bowmore is the oldest Distillery on Islay. Islay malts are famous for their characteristic smokiness and Bowmore is no exception. Bowmore carefully smokes its malt and uses skills handed down from generation to generation to craft a perfectly balanced single malt.  Bowmore’s adherence to traditional production methods helps to shape the character of its single malts – they are one of only a few distilleries anywhere which still produces its own floor malted barley, hand-turned by traditional wooden malt shovels. It draws water from the Laggan River, with its rich peaty overtones, and it’s the same Islay peat that fires the malt drying kiln.

Bowmore Distillery’s close proximity to the sea is also vital in determining the final character of the spirit. The famous Bowmore No. 1 Vaults is where most of the whiskies spend their time resting quietly in the cool, dark, damp cellars below sea level, oblivious to the waves thrashing the Vault’s sea-facing wall. They mature in oak casks, previously used for bourbon, sherry or claret, gradually developing rich and mellow flavors. It’s this combination of peat, barley, sea breeze, water, wood, people and tradition that together create the perfectly balanced warm and smoky character of Bowmore single malt whiskies.


4 Responses to “BOWMORE 1957 – 54 YEARS OLD”

  1. Darko said

    Really!!! $150,000 for a bottle of whisky. I’d really like to know what the “net proceeds” donated are.

    • I have absolutely no problem with the distillery raising money for charity! I get that £100,000 is a lot of money, but with only 10 bottles being produced, I applaud Morrison Bowmore for earmarking 2 of these bottles for charity.

      • Darko said

        Don’t get me wrong Chip, I like the fact that money is being donated to charity, and I also applaud Morrison Bowmore for doing this. But… I need to ask; Why only 2 bottles? Why not all 10 bottles? What is “net proceeds”.

        What is the “BS” factor with Scotch. Last year I bought 30 yr old Canadian Whisky for 50 bucks. That’s almost the entry level for well aged single malt… Charitable or not, $150,000 reserve for a 57yr old scotch really hits the “BS” meter.

        • (Did you read my recent posting about Monumental Spirits? (click here) This whisky is perhaps one of the most dramatic examples of the Monumental Spirit phenomena I have seen. (Believe it or not there is company trying to get a million dollars for a bottle of bottle of tequila)

          But why get angry? Bowmore is charging what they think the market will bear. If ten people in the world can be found who will pay the price then that price was not set too high. That’s basic supply and demand economics. And, by setting the price that high they are going to raise a bunch of bucks for charity. As for the other eight bottles. Why shouldn’t Bowmore make a bunch of money from their foresight and hard work. The only reason these bottles have as much appeal to collectors is because of all of the work past and present which Bowmore has done to build their brand image.

          Look, I agree with you that Canadian Whisky is every bit as good as any Single Malt Scotch. The highest rated whisky on my website is a Canadian Whisky. You are preaching to the converted. But I also know that for the past decade the Scots have marketed their whisky far more successfully than us Canadians have. We got complacent and will have to work hard to earn back the respect we lost. Maybe for you and I that is a good thing. We can drink world class whisky for less than 50 bucks a bottle, it appears no one in Scotland can….

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