Simon Wittenberg speaks to Ron Welsh, Master Blender at Bowmore, to find out more about the first single malt whisky to be made by Islay’s oldest distillery and the latest collaboration with Aston Martin.
Luxurious Magazine: What inspired you to create the Bowmore Masters’ Selection?
Ron Welsh: Masters’ Selection is our fourth collaborative project, but our first collaborative whisky creation inspired by the incredible sensory experience of driving an Aston Martin. I wanted to create a whisky that reflected the elegance of an Aston Martin car on first impression with leather notes and a bit of spice that reminds you of being inside an Aston Martin, and of course, one that delivered a powerful yet very smooth finish. The result is a single malt that thrills all the senses and promises much delight.
LM: You developed this whisky with Aston Martin’s Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman. What values do you share, and what were your respective roles in the creation of the new expression?
RW: Marek and I share an appreciation for the time and precision it takes to create beautiful products. We care deeply about the history and heritage of the brands we represent and value the craftsmanship of our jobs and those of our teams in striving to leave a lasting legacy. The process was led by myself but involved Marek throughout, from selecting samples to be blended through to creating the final whisky. This involved numerous virtual tastings to ensure the optimal result.
LM: This expression follows the “Golden Ratio theory” for its composition. Can you explain what the significance of this is, please?
RW: The Golden Ratio is a mathematical ratio you can find almost anywhere, in nature and in art. It’s a guiding design principle in every Aston Martin to ensure perfect symmetry at every angle. While whisky-making is fundamentally a sensory process, I used this approach for the first time as inspiration in the blending of different casks to create a single malt of the optimal character.
It allows for a more engineered methodology to build from a base, adding layers of complexity and flavour in line with specific ratios or proportions.
This means selecting specific cask types or matured spirit character in direct proportion with one another, thereby optimising the total sensory experience through layers of flavour and complexity to a specific scientific formula or ‘recipe’.
LM: The Bowmore Masters’ Selection is formed from a base of 21 year old Bowmore matured in first-fill Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso sherry casks. What notes can whisky lovers expect?
RW: Much like an Aston Martin, it is powerful yet elegant. The nose is sweet with nutty notes of Manuka honey, maple syrup with praline and grilled hazelnuts, combined with freshly tanned leather and dried thyme spices.
To taste, rich, elegant sherry merges with raw Islay peat, whilst bitter dark chocolate combines with black pepper, butterscotch morello cherries and a touch of papaya. The finish is spicy and mouth warming, with notes of oak, chestnut and coconut.
LM: Who is your target audience for this new whisky, and in which markets do you think it will be most popular?
RW: Avid Bowmore and single malt collectors would be the most likely to be interested in owning one of these limited edition bottles. However, I believe it will also appeal to a broader range of car enthusiasts as well as gift buyers. From November 2021, it will be available in our key markets where single malt whisky is in popular demand, including the UK, Germany, USA, Canada, China and South-East Asia.
LM: With this release being a limited edition, how many bottles of the Bowmore Masters’ Selection will be available?
RW: Yes, this is a limited edition, and just over 12,000 bottles will be available globally.
LM: What can we expect next from Bowmore?
RW: We are currently working on a series of future collaborative projects and products ranging from exceptional experiences to design-led product innovations with the goal of offering fans of the brands more opportunities to connect with the partnership.
LM: Are you a petrolhead, and have you had the chance to get behind the wheel of an Aston Martin?
RW: Yes indeed. I’ve had the privilege of driving four different Aston Martins, and these experiences continue to inspire me when working on creations for the partnership. They truly are beautiful to look at and are incredible to drive.
LM: Thank you for your time Ron, and it has been a pleasure speaking with you.
Bowmore Masters’ Selection – Where and How?
Bowmore Masters’ Selection is available in key global markets, including the UK, Germany, Canada, USA and China at an RSP of US$300 (ex VAT/duty). For more information, visit www.bowmore.com.
Read more exclusive interviews by Simon Wittenberg here.