Complete Black Bowmore Whisky Collection To Be Auctioned Off At Sotheby’s

By Allyson Nichols / December 16, 2020

Twenty-seven years after its original release, the rare opportunity to acquire the complete Black Bowmore single malt whisky collection direct from the Bowmore distillery will arise.

Sotheby’s – in partnership with Bowmore – will auction off five archive bottles of Black Bowmore, spanning from 1993 to 2016. The collection is set to be presented in the Black Bowmore ‘Archive Cabinet’: a unique handcrafted archive cabinet created to showcase authentic items and materials from the Bowmore distillery.

A highly desirable collector’s item and hallmark for the distillery’s house style, these highly valued whiskies were first distilled in 1964 and filled into oak casks that had previously been used for maturing sweet Oloroso sherry, before being transferred to the No. 1 vaults at Bowmore’s oldest maturation warehouse for a decades long slumber. It was, according to the auction house, “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).”

Sotheby's Black Bowmore auction

Sotheby’s Black Bowmore auction is set for Spring 2021 in Hong Kong (image via Sotheby’s)

The collection’s bottles will be displayed inside the cabinet on hand-blown pillars with varying heights corresponding to the age of the whiskies. The bottom of the cabinet represents the newly made spirit changing color from yellow, dark red-brown, and black with the full cabinet featuring Scottish oak, custom cask solid bronze, and drawers constructed from the original pine wash back staves and brass whisky safe from the distillery.

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It includes as well a “one-off book which details the journey of Black Bowmore over its five releases and the creation of the cabinet.”

“Black Bowmore is one of my personal favourite whiskies and a dram I have been lucky enough to try on a number of occasions,” said Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s Spirits Specialist, in a prepared statement. “Its value has increased exponentially over the years, which can be attributed to its undeniable quality and, now that so many bottles have been consumed, its newfound rarity. We are thrilled to partner with Bowmore for this landmark offering in the world of collectible whisky.”

“Black Bowmore truly is the jewel in our crown and it takes its rightful place in the distillery’s history for firmly putting Bowmore on the map as an iconic, collectable whisky,” added David Turner, Bowmore Distillery Manager. “This full collection of five Black Bowmore bottlings is spectacular, made even more special by the cabinet within which it is beautifully housed. Each element of the cabinet comes from our home; from the workings of the distillery preserving time gone by.

“This exceptional detail not only reflects the craftsmanship inherent in Bowmore, but makes this unique masterpiece rooted in our Islay home. This means whoever buys this not only owns some of our spirit’s history, but also actual elements of the distillery’s production history.”

The auction will take place in Hong Kong in the spring of 2021, with an estimated value of the collection to be HK$4,000,000 (US$500,000 / £400,000). The winning bidder will be invited to the Bowmore distillery for a tasting of Bowmore’s rarest and oldest single malts with proceeds of the auction being donated to an Islay charity.

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More details on each specific bottling are below from Sotheby’s.

First edition:
– Release Date: 1993
– Age: 29 Years
– Number of bottles: 2000
– Bottle No.819

Second Edition
– Release Date: 1994
– Age: 30 Years
– Number of bottles: 2000
– Bottle: No.18

Third Edition
– Release Date: 1995
– Age: 31 Years
– Number of bottles: 1812
– Bottle No.7

Fourth Edition
– Release Date: 2007
– Age: 42 Years
– Number of bottles: 827
– Bottle No.2

Fifth Edition
– Release date: 2016
– Age: 50 Years
– Number of bottles: 159
– Bottle No.72


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