The Black Bowmore, most enthusiasts will agree, is one of the preeminent single malts in Scotch-whisky history. Before this bottle’s initial release in 1993, single malts were a small, somewhat obscure niche in an industry dominated by blended whiskies.
Islay, the small island on the northern coast of Scotland now renowned for its peated malts, was little known. Circumstances changed, however—for the island and the category—with the Black Bowmore: Distilled on November 5, 1964, and aged in seven first-fill sherry casks, this whisky attained legendary status in short order. It galvanized the still-small single malt collectors’ community, and also put Islay and the Bowmore brand itself back on the whisky map.
Subsequent Black Bowmore releases met with increasing demand and rising prices on the secondary market. The first release originally retailed for about £100; today, it’s hard to find a bottle for less than $10,000.
Black Bowmore 1964 50 Year Old, The Last Cask, which is the fifth and final Black Bowmore release, brings to market the final 159 bottles of the historic batch. Aged for a full 50 years, Last Cask ($25,000) is rich, dense, and intensely fruity, with notes of grapefruit, mango, and pineapple at the forefront. The long and gentle finish is accented by the smoky undercurrents found throughout the Bowmore range. The handblown glass bottle, with a silver neckpiece and Scottish-oak stopper, is housed in a Scottish-oak cabinet.
As a piece of whisky history for collectors or as an age-defying dram for lovers of the delicious, the Last Cask ends the Black Bowmore performance on a high note.