The first long-awaited collaboration between two of Great Britain’s powerhouse brands has produced a rare and compelling collectible spirit with a bit of speedy flair. The Black Bowmore DB5 1964, limited to only 25 bottles, marries the historical expertise of Islay’s oldest licensed distillery with the octane-fueled inspiration of O-O-you-know-who’s-favored luxury performance car maker, Aston Martin.
The 31-year-old whiskey, in only its sixth bottling to date, is presented in a hand-crafted box, more like an exquisite piece of luggage, wrought from select calfskin and featuring nickel-plated hinges and fasteners as a nod to the iconic Aston Martin DB5. The bottle itself is a work of art from studio Glasstorm in Northeast Scotland, with each container taking more than a week to create (and including an actual DB5 piston ring integrated into the bottom half of each bottle, to boot).
The “1964” appellation represents significant gravitas for both brands. It was in that year that the Bowmore distillery upgraded its equipment to enter the modern era, and it was the first year it produced the robust product that would become the iconic Bowmore Black. For Aston Martin, 1964 represents the second year of the DB5 sports car’s production—and that was the model year that made its James Bond debut in Goldfinger (ejector seat and rotating license plates not included).
Marek Reichman, Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer of Aston Martin Lagonda, summarized it thus: “This exciting new association with Bowmore gives us the perfect opportunity to celebrate a vital part of our star-studded history by combining the unrivaled appeal of the iconic DB5 with the cultured flavors of this world-renowned single malt.”
While we would gladly dodge razor-sharp hat brims and risk laser-table bisection for a taste, we can only pass along the flavor notes from Bowmore. The 31-year-old aging is done exclusively in Williams & Humbert walnut brown Oloroso sherry casks. Its deep, dark obsidian hue gives a visual cue to the profound complexity of the single malt. A combination of ripe fruit and creme caramel present early to the nose, giving way to soft tobacco, citrus peel, and black cherry aromas. In motion, and at first, intense tropical fruit flavors and honey intertwine with a coffee and smoke undercurrent, leading to a languid finish of fruit and spice notes.
The partnership has plans to unveil even more projects over the coming months and years, from experiential events to products that offer fans of the Bowmore and Aston Martin with a spectrum of opportunities to connect further and experience the rarefied joys of both brands. To this, we say, “Yesh.”