An exceptionally rare bottle of the oldest Islay Single Malt ever released to the public has sold to an anonymous US buyer for US$160,000, with net proceeds to go to five separate Scottish charities. This comes after two previous unsuccessful attempts at auction.
The Bowmore 1957 bottle from the famed Bowmore Distillery on Islay is just one of twelve produced by the ancient manufacture, which was founded in 1779 and is now owned by Morrison Bowmore Distillers, a holding company under Suntory.
Distilled in 1957 and bottled in 2011, the 54-year-old ambrosia was matured in the finest oak at Bowmore’s legendary No. 1 Vaults, the oldest maturation warehouse in Scotland.
The bottle itself is an astonishingly beautiful objet d'art: painstakingly hand-blown and precisely sculpted by two of the world’s foremost glass artists, Brodie Nairn and Nichola Burnsinto, the decanter's embellishments evoke the roiling waves which assault the walls of the No. 1 Vaults’ sea-facing walls.
Meanwhile, the glass is shot through with scintillating flecks of platinum which catch the light when the bottle is admired and turned over in your hand, with more platinum accents in the form of the neck collar hand-engraved with the bottle number and spirit strength, as well as a platinum stopper hand-crafted by Hamilton & Inches, the Scottish jeweler which holds a Royal Warrant from the Queen of England.
The bottle of Bowmore 1957 comes with accompanying glasses and a water pitcher, also hand-blown by Nairn and Burns, and presented in a handsome Scottish oak box crafted by famed woodworker Peter Toaig. Of the 11 remaining bottles, two have been stored in the Morrison Bowmore archives, while the other nine remain for sale at the Distillery.