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Black Is Back

In May, whisky collectors took note of the fourth and final arrival of Black Bowmore single malt that arrived on American shores. The 42-year-old single malt, which derives from a single batch distilled in late 1964, reflects the sherry-walnut flavors and color of the oloroso butt casks in which it was aged. In total, only 6,639 bottles were produced of the rare whisky in various stages of maturity: 2,000 bottles were released in 1993 and 1994, and in 1995 an additional 1,812 bottles were released.  The final bottling yielded a mere 827 bottles, 80 of which have been allocated to the U.S.  Not surprisingly, the spirit’s flavor profile includes mature oak, but, says Iain McCallum, head blender for Morrison Bowmore Distillers, it has none of the dominating woodiness that is so often present in extra-aged single malts—an indication that the casks had been made from seasoned, old-growth timber.  The rarified Scotch whisky also shows mango, papaya, and lychee, along with cocoa, dark cherry, toffee, orange, and a kiss of brine, the classic hallmark of Islay malts. Priced at $4,500 apiece, each bottle is individually numbered and set in a mahogany chest bearing a copper plaque. (+44.141.558.9011, www.bowmore.co.uk)

—Jessica Taylor

Photo by Jim Fets
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