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Sotheby’s to auction unique Bowmore ARC-52: The ‘Mokume Edition’

Sotheby’s is to auction a one-off 52-year old vintage whisky in a unique decanter that has been specially designed by Aston Martin, following its iconic ARC-52 collaboration, which is estimated to reach up to £220,000. 


This particular Bowmore ARC-52: The ‘Mokume Edition’, has been created as part of the ongoing partnership between the whisky producer and the luxury car manufacturer. It comes after the release last June of the two companies’ ARC-52 collaboration, a sleek, futuristic and sculptural decanter designed by Aston Martin housing an exceptionally rare 52-year-old single malt whisky which retailed for US$75,000. The two companies described it as “the pinnacle of their partnership”, with only 100 hand-blown decanters created and released on a staggered basis.  

The on-off Mokume edition comprises a unique decanter, housing some of the oldest Bowmore vintages from the 1960s created by  Master Blender Ron Welsh. It takes its name from the Japanese metalworking technique of ‘Mokume-Gane’ which produces a mixed-metal laminate with distinctive layered patterns. The carbon fibre top of the decanter has been created using a process that mirrors the mokume texture and mimics a natural aesthetic, much like wood grain or layered natural rock. The inspiration is said to be the black rocks in the bay of Loch Indaal, where the Bowmore Distillery is situated, as well as the inside of the charred cask where the whisky was aged.

“We imagined walking those picturesque shores, at magic light, and discovering this wonderous treasure, shaped over eons of time by the elements, suddenly appearing at your feet,” Marek Reichman, executive vice president & chief creative officer, Aston Martin said.

It will be auctioned in London on 26 May, with an estimate of £140,000-220,000 ($175,000-275,000), with the proceeds set to benefit a fund dedicated to supporting the people of Islay across a range of initiatives, in order to futureproof the island’s distilling industry in the future.

Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s head of whisky & spirits, North America and Emea said the whisky encapsulated “all the hallmarks of a collector’s perfect whisky”, combining a unique liquid “of exceptional quality” and an “exceptional vessel” .

“Bowmore consistently push boundaries with their design concepts and their whiskies are truly world beating,” he said. “Partnering with them once again to offer this one-off opportunity to whisky enthusiasts represents an exciting moment for Sotheby’s and the market for rare spirits.”

Ron Welsh, master blender At Bowmore added that the concept of ARC was “spectacular” in both  form and contents, but this one-off creation “adds even greater depth, intrigue, and inspiration to the story of ARC”.

“By creating this unique Mokume edition, we can also fulfil our ambition to ‘give back’ to our homeplace through The Bowmore Legacy, by offering collectors and Bowmore lovers something truly special and desirable,” he said.

He added that as it was one of his last projects for Bowmore, it was exceptionally close to his heart and “the perfect climax to an incredibly rewarding and exciting career.”




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