ARC-52 is the latest collaboration between Bowmore and Aston Martin; an edition of 100 decanters containing some of Bowmore’s oldest whisky. Each decanter is a physical representation of Aston Martin and Bowmore at their very outer limits. For Aston Martin, that means looking forward, examining what is possible in pursuit of more speed and less drag; a conceptual space exploring what lies ahead. For Bowmore, it means looking back to some of their oldest casks.
Very few carmakers build hypercars; the gains over production run sportscars are small, hard-fought and disproportionately expensive (at north of 200mph, air resistance becomes like a wall). But, if you want to build the fastest cars in history, that’s what you have to go through; examining every new technology and design available to eke out fractional margins, whilst also producing beautiful cars. For Aston Martin that process begins at a conceptual level, exploring forms that will inform their automotive future.
For Bowmore, the extremity is reversed. The casks in the ARC series are some of the oldest Bowmore casks in existence, and very few whiskies survive for over fifty years in cask. The first, and most obvious reason for this, is that most have already been drunk; it’s rare for a cask to be left alone for that long, resisting the financial pressure to be bottled and sold. The next obstacle is the maturation itself, as many whiskies will hit their peak at younger ages, and then tip over into being woody, or simply evaporate away.
Bowmore is an outlier in this regard – one of the few Islay whiskies that not only can withstand this type of hyper-ageing, but benefits from it. The effect of age on Bowmore is transformational, as the peat notes recede and the tropical fruits emerge… The whisky in ARC-52 is a marriage of two 1968 Bowmore casks, one European oak and one American oak, in an exact 50/50 split (a first for Bowmore). The 50/50 split is further reflected in the balance of the decanter.