Wealthy connoisseurs still have a chance to snatch a bottle of the 74 remaining ones from Bowmore’s last cask of 1966 whisky available for sale. Recognized as the oldest surviving distillery on the rocky, remote Scottish island of Islay, Bowmore goes as further as 1779. As with almost all Scotch whiskies, it used to be distilled exclusively for use in blends. It became commercially available to the general public only in 1966, which coincidentally was the same year a young man named Eddie MacAffer began working at the distillery. In 2016, as MacAffer — who’d gone on to become the Bowmore distillery manager — celebrated his 50th anniversary there – commemorating the occasion with the bottling of the very last cask of 1966 Bowmore still aging in their famed No. 1 Vault.
Bowmore 1966 50 Years Old (priced at $30,000) is now being released as part of the ongoing 50 Years Old Vault Legends Collection. It isn’t as famous as the legendary 1964 Black Bowmore, the last cask of which was bottled and released earlier this year. However, with only 74 bottles available worldwide, it’s even rarer, and just as rich in taste. Aged entirely in ex-bourbon American oak hogsheads and bottled at a cask strength of 83 proof, it has prominent notes of pineapple, followed by gentle smokiness and a very smooth, dry finish. The ideal aging conditions found in Bowmore’s No. 1 Vault have kept it from becoming overly tannic, despite the 50 years spent in oak.
The elegant packaging complements the whisky perfectly. Handmade crystal bottles adorned with silver flourishes and housed in a cabinet made of Scottish oak contain the precious liquor. The design of the oak cabinet accentuates its natural idiosyncrasies so no two will be exactly alike. At the center of each cabinet are five hand-laid silver rings, which replicate the tree rings that symbolize the whisky’s five decades in oak.
Bowmore has announced two more 1960s-vintage whiskies, although release dates are not yet confirmed. That will certainly give wealthy buyers something to look forward to after all 74 bottles of the exclusive batch sell out.