Whisky Magazine Issue 27
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Martine Nouet shares her impressions of three rare 1964 Bowmore releases
Bowmore is taking a step back in time with the release of its last remaining casks filled in 1964, a year made legendary by the success of Black Bowmore, now a big auction hit. The initial launch of two fino casks will be followed by oloroso casks in spring 2003 and bourbon casks six months later. Only 300 bottlings will be available at around £1,000 each. Rarity has its price.
1964 will remain a great vintage in Bowmore single malt history and an eventful year, in fact a new start for the distillery after the takeover by the Morrison family the previous year.
Bowmore Distillery was experiencing major technical changes. A new still house being converted from fire to steam required the installation of a new boiler. The shipping of ‘Big Beanie' the boiler, supervised by the combined forces of the Navy and the Army, came close to a nightmare as the craft was stranded offshore by uncooperative tides. An observer happened to capture the scene on video tape and Bowmore is now gleefully exhibiting the footage.
All's well that ends well, and the first distilling began a few days later. This particular Fino Cask bottling, however, is far from the result of a carefully orchestrated maturation policy. “In those days,” Chairman Brian Morrison recalls, “we had no deep knowledge about the type of sherry cask we bought and no real maturation plans. Among the excellent sherry casks we got from George Gorrod cooperage in Aberdeen, there happened to be these fino hogsheads probably...