Simon Wittenberg takes a look at some of the latest releases making the headlines in the world of whisky.
Bowmore ARC-52: ‘The Mokume Edition’
Following in the footsteps of Bowmore’s 52-year-old ARC-52 whisky (42.3% ABV), which launched last year, limited to just 100 examples worldwide, Bowmore put a one-off up for sale in an auction at Sotheby’s London.
Named Bowmore ARC-52: ‘The Mokume Edition’, the unique decanter, designed in collaboration with Aston Martin, proceeded to sell for an eye-watering £225,000 (inc. VAT), well above the reserve of £140,000, which was met early on.
The lucky buyer also earned the honour of enjoying an exclusive experience at the Bowmore Distillery on Islay and a drive in the limited edition Aston Martin DBX Bowmore Edition.
Prior to the sale towards the end of May, we had the pleasure of sampling the Bowmore ARC-52: ‘The Mokume Edition’ (43% ABV) in a tucked away boardroom at Sotheby’s in the company of Bowmore’s former Master Blender Ron Welsh, and Daryl Haldane, Global Private Client Director at Beam Suntory.
As well as this flowing and curvaceous decanter being a true work of art, the exceptional and never-to-be-repeated 52-year-old expression that lies within has been crafted from the marriage of just two bottles of Bowmore’s standard 1968 whisky (a 52-year-old) with a portion of the drier 1962, which was a 55-year-old when bottled in 2017 and offers a bit more of an American oak influence than ARC-52 for this one-of-one.
Interestingly, the 55-year-old has never been released and is the subject of another project at the distillery, according to Ron Welsh.
What was particularly noticeable when trying this extraordinary whisky, which sports a deep golden colour, was the powerful citrus notes, which are not what you would readily associate with very old whiskies.
The taste on the palate is honey sweet and fruity, whilst oaky notes unite with light peat for a mouth-warming delight.
See pictures from the tasting of Bowmore ARC-52: ‘The Mokume Edition’ on the Luxurious Magazine Instagram page.
For further information, visit www.bowmore.com.
Cù Bòcan 12 Year Old
Cù Bòcan Single Malt has released a brand-new age stated whisky to the range, named Cù Bòcan 12 Year Old. Bottled at 46% ABV and a limited batch release, Cù Bòcan has used Caribbean rum casks for maturing this expression which, combined with their subtly smoky spirit, has resulted in flavours of grilled pineapple, sea salt, ginger and white chocolate.
Cù Bòcan likens this release to long Scottish Summer nights spent with friends by a campfire on the beach.
Cù Bòcan 12 Year Old is available in specialist shops worldwide with an RRP of £65 per 700ml bottle.
For more information, visit www.cu-bocan.com.
Glenfiddich Tokyo After Dark at Harrods
For the month of June only, Glenfiddich is hosting its Tokyo After Dark installation on the fifth floor of the famed Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, London.
The art-themed exhibit, which is divided into two areas, has been created in collaboration with the MTArt Artist and the Japanese-inspired ceramicist King Houndekpinkou to mark the launch of the limited edition Glenfiddich 29 Year Old Grand Yozakura single malt Scotch whisky.
The expression is a nod to Hanami, the ancient tradition where Japan appreciates the fleeting beauty of nature through the Sakura (cherry blossom), and has been finished in exceptionally rare ex-Awamori casks. For a touch of trivia, Awamori is the oldest distilled alcoholic drink in Japan.
For more information, visit www.glenfiddich.com/tokyo-after-dark.
Johnnie Walker ‘The Master’s Cut’
Johnnie Walker has unveiled the ultimate legacy blend from former Master Blender and renowned whisky-maker Dr Jim Beveridge OBE. Limited to only 1,000 bottles costing £1,000 each, Johnnie Walker’s ‘The Master’s Cut’ (40% ABV) has been created from the coming together of two whiskies.
These are, namely, a lighter single-grain whisky from Cameronbridge – one of the oldest distilleries used to blend Johnnie Walker, and a full-flavoured fruity single malt from Roseisle, one of Scotland’s youngest distilleries. The result is a spectacular, rich, smooth, candy-like expression that embodies the craft of blending.
Jim Beveridge’s retirement came after a four-decade-long career in whisky, during which time he was responsible for some of the world’s most popular and acclaimed Scotch whisky blends, including Johnnie Walker Blue Label.
In 2019, Jim was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the Scotch whisky industry.
For more information, visit www.diageorareandexceptional.com.
METHOD AND MADNESS Garryana Oak Edition
Irish Distillers, maker of some of the world’s most loved whiskeys, such as Redbreast, Midleton Very Rare, and Jameson, has unveiled the METHOD AND MADNESS Garryana Oak Edition from its experimental Micro Distillery in Midleton, Co. Cork, Ireland.
The limited edition is a traditional single-pot still whiskey finished in Garryana Oak (also known as Oregon White Oak) casks that pushes the boundaries of Irish whiskey.
The whiskey has been triple distilled at the Micro Distillery from a mash bill of malted and unmalted barley and matured in ex-Bourbon American oak casks before being finished in casks made from virgin Garryana oak from the rainy Pacific Northwest for between four and 12 months.
This exquisite expression offers aromas of smoked applewood, treacle, and golden raisins, with notes of black pepper, coffee cake, clove spice and malted barley.
METHOD AND MADNESS Garryana Oak is available for purchase in Ireland, the UK, Global Travel Retail, and online at the RRP of €95. Its US debut can be expected in late 2023.
For more information, visit www.methodandmadnesswhiskey.com.
The Macallan Colour Collection
Launched at the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference in Singapore, The Macallan Colour Collection is a global travel exclusive made up of five age statement single malt Scotch whiskies.
The new line-up explores the brand’s commitment to delivering natural colour through maturation in sherry-seasoned casks. Deepening in colour with age, the range spans the hues of the whisky spectrum to showcase the exquisite natural tones derived from maturation in The Macallan’s sherry seasoned oak casks from Jerez de la Frontera in Spain.
The Macallan Colour Collection also marks the return of age statement whiskies to The Macallan’s global travel retail offering and will be introduced within The Macallan Boutiques and major travel retail locations from 01 September 2023.
For more information, visit www.themacallan.com.
Read more of Simon’s round-ups and news from the wine and spirits industry here.