Simon Wittenberg catches up with David Turner, Distillery Manager at Bowmore, the oldest distillery on the Isle of Islay off the west coast of Scotland, to talk about all things whisky and their first collaboration with Aston Martin.
Luxurious Magazine: Firstly David, what are your career highlights, and how did you get into whisky?
David Turner: It has to be being the Distillery Manager when the fifth edition of Black Bowmore was released. My Grandfather worked in the warehouses at Bowmore distillery when that cask was laid down to mature in 1964, and I was the Distillery Manager when it was released, having joined Bowmore from School at 16 years old on the 4th June 1990.
LM: Bowmore has announced its first collaboration with the luxury automotive brand, Aston Martin, to create the limited edition and exceptionally rare Black Bowmore DB5 1964 whisky. How did this come about?
DT: The partnership came about very naturally. We share many passions and synergies across whisky making and car design, as well as both being British, and in many respects, ‘iconic’. We both work tirelessly to create beautiful products, and this first collaboration is testament to that.
LM: What are the shared brand values of Bowmore and Aston Martin that you are looking to communicate through this partnership?
DT: We are both committed to the preservation of our heritage and craftsmanship, as vital parts of who we each are. But also, we share a desire to innovate and evolve, staying relevant and future-facing whilst building on our legacies. This partnership tells the story of these shared values and why we work well together.
LM: Why was the DB5 chosen for this particular initiative?
DT: The key is 1964, a defining year for us at Bowmore when we installed the new boiler, that went onto fire the stills which created the spirit to make Black Bowmore. For Aston Martin, this was the year where the DB5 found its fame, thanks to James Bond and Goldfinger. Again, this was a natural fit and reason for the DB5 to be central to this collaborative product.
LM: With only 25 bottles on sale priced at £50,000 each, do you think whisky collectors and car aficionados will be the main customers?
DT: Whisky collectors and drinkers along with car aficionados will be the keenest, but there is no doubt these will be well researched, talked about and admired by whisky collectors worldwide.
LM: The bottom of the bottle incorporates a DB5 piston. Was the design a joint effort, and where does it take its inspiration from?
DT: Yes, this was a joint effort from the start – you can see it this in the detail of the product. The use of the DB5 piston, a car made famous in 1964, was the starting point in creating this beautiful vessel for our Black Bowmore.
LM: Are you holding back one of the bottles to go in the archives?
DT: Bowmore keeps two bottles of every release for our archives.
LM: What’s next for Bowmore, and how has the distillery been affected by COVID-19?
DT: Bowmore has a great stock of vintages dating back to the 1960s that are maturing, and we have a lot of fantastic whiskies to come. Recently, we stopped production for a few weeks, as well as closing our visitor centre, to keep both our staff and fellow islanders safe. However, we are confident that once the situation improves, Bowmores will be amazing.
LM: Are there any particular Bowmore whiskies that really stand out for you?
DT: The full set of five Black Bowmores are iconic, but the 15-year-old is a fantastic value for money single malt.
LM: Away from the distillery, what are your personal luxuries in life?
DT: They have to be travel, playing golf, and collecting old and rare Bowmores.
LM: Thank you for your time, and it has been a pleasure talking to you.
Bowmore Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Where and How?
For more information on Bowmore Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky, visit www.bowmore.com.
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