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FOOD + DRINK

Bowmore 1966 50 Years Old Islay Single Malt Whisky

A $30,000 bottle, from the Vault Legends Collection, that's actually worth its price tag

by David Graver
on 29 November 2017

When one sips a single malt Scotch that's 50 or more years old, a common immediate reaction can be "Wow, I can't believe I tried that" rather than, "My goodness, that tastes superb!" With Bowmore's latest, the 50 Years Old from 1966—a new addition, and the rarest, to their Vault Legends Collection—it is actually and uncommonly both. 50 years in, a Scotch normally adopts so much character from the wood that the original spirit has lost its edge and traces of its home distillery profile. Here, peat from ages past underlines the most magnificent taste of candied pineapple. It's not hinted at, like the peaches and cream you may find, it's just evident, tasty and entirely unexpected. There, 50 years later is Bowmore with its tropical fruits and peated heart. There are many reasons why this expression commands a $30,000 price tag, but the very fact that it also happens to taste good must be reinforced as important.

As for other highly desirable attributes, there are plenty. Only 74 bottles of this whisky exist globally. 1966, its date of distillation, happens to be the same year that Bowmore Single Malt Scotch Whisky was first officially bottled and when iconic Bowmore Distillery Manager Eddie MacAffer joined the company. Only one cask of this exact whisky was set aside for today—aging those 50 years in a single ex-bourbon hogshead in Bowmore's No 1 Vaults, one of the world's oldest Scotch maturation warehouses. Even the presentation was considered, with bottling done in a handmade crystal decanter with sterling silver adornments. Altogether, it's housed in a handcrafted cabinet made from Scottish oak. Again though, one has to go back to the amber liquid within which had a graceful natural evolution and is as tasty as whisky can get.

Images courtesy of Beam Suntory

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