Tuesday 18 October 2022

Tasted #596: Black Bowmore DB5 1964-1995 (Aston Martin) (TimeforWhisky 10 Year Anniversary Dram)

We're going back to Bowmore for #6 in our 10th Anniversary line-up, and sort of revisiting a whisky I've already tried - in the form of Bowmore's "Black Bowmore DB5 1964-1995" Aston Martin collaboration....the liquid in which is perhaps better known as the 1964 "Black Bowmore" 3rd Edition, released in 1995. 

I say "sort of revisiting", because whilst the liquid here is the same, the bottling, release year and price tag are very, very different. You can read a brief history of the Black Bowmore series in my earlier post (including its fascinating connection to Australia in the comments and here), but in short when this whisky was initially released in 1995, it was around £100.

Fast forward 25 years to 2020, when Bowmore teamed up with Aston Martin for a range of bottlings, most of them initially travel retail editions of the standard 10/15/18yo, but one of them a re-bottling of the aforementioned 3rd release Black Bowmore. Released in a limited run of only 27 bottles (25 for sale), with an actual Aston Martin piston incorporated into the bottle, the price had gone up ever so slightly since 1995....to £50,000 (if you want one now, The Whisky Exchange will sell you one - for only £180,000).

Side note: I get the luxury angle with these whisky / car manufacturer collaborations, but I still find them strange. "Drinking & driving" and all that. Just me? Let us know in the comments!

I'm not sure exactly how these 27 bottles came to be - did Bowmore purchase them from collectors? H Have them in their archives? Never sell them back in the 90s? Whatever the case, the whisky here is effectively the same 1964-1995 whisky, albeit with a slight increase in ABV from 49% to 49.6% (though my sample bottle said 49.7%).

The original release (below) is still one of the best whiskies I've ever had, so I was keen as mustard to try the re-released £50k version and see how it (and my palate) fared 5 years later.

Black Bowmore DB5 1964 (Aston Martin) 1964-1995 (49.6% ABV, 31yo, Islay, Scotland, price: £180,000)
Colour: Deep, dark coffee.

Nose: Initially a big tropical hit, with that same clean sherry I loved back in 2017. Passionfruit and mango initially, then evolving into strong notes of pine needles, forrest floor, coffee grounds and BBQ glazed ham. As intoxicating as my first experience - there was a lot of time spent nosing this glass back and forth.

Palate: Carries the fruit from the nose - guava, pineapple cake, mango, but also brazil nuts, raisins and cherries. After some time an earthy oak notes start to sure - more so than I recall with the previous tasting.

Finish: Long, with mango the most predominant note and some residual oak tannins at the very end.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale):  94/100. Still an incredible whisky, still right up there with my favourites. I'm not sure if the whisky is different or my palate has changed (both, I'm sure) but...

Another thanks to the ever-generous @whisky_is_better_aged for this one.


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