Whisky Advocate

Three days to “White Bowmore”

July 25th, 2008

On Monday, February 4th, I was given the honor to be the first person in the U.S. to taste the “new” Black Bowmore. As you may recall, I blogged about it the next morning, giving it the highest rating I have ever given whisky: 97. (Yes, I am stingy at the top end of the scale.)

Next up: White Bowmore. I am once again honored to be the first one in the U.S. to taste this whisky. On Monday , I will be in New York City with Iain McCallum (Head Blender) , Andrew Rankin (Head of Production) and Jamie MacKenzie, who covers the U.S. Market for Morrison Bowmore Distillers, to taste the new White Bowmore.

Here’s what I know so far about the new White Bowmore:

Distilled Nov. 5, 1964
Aged 43 yrs. in 6 bourbon barrels in Bowmore’s No. 1 Vaults
Yield:  732 bottles worldwide
US allocation:  40 bottles
SRP $6,000 bottle

Note that there’s only 40 bottles for the U.S. Note also that the new White Bowmore retails for significantly more than the Black Bowmore, which was initially promoted with a SRP of $4,500. (However, I just had a peek at New York-based Park Avenue Liquor’s website, and they have the Black Bowmore listed at $6,000, so maybe the gap is narrowing.) I was also informed that the Black Bowmore has taken a while to get into circulation here in the U.S. in certain markets, with some getting their allocation only within the past month.

As with the Black Bowmore, I will post my thoughts on White Bowmore this Tuesday, the very next day.

I also will be tasting a new 1992 Vintage, 16 year old Bowmore that was aged in bourbon barrels and then put in Bordeaux wine casks, so I’ll let you know about this whisky too. This one will be a little bit more affordable: about $120.

Both whiskies are supposed to be available in the U.S. by October.

6 Responses to “Three days to “White Bowmore””

  1. JC Skinner says:

    Would you not agree that those are shocking prices for new release whiskies, John?
    How do you feel about where the top-end of the whisky market is moving?
    I appreciate the need to generate profit, as well as the enormous initial outlays in generating distillery output and storing it until sufficiently aged.
    But those are problems afflicting newer distilleries like Arran or Cooley, or those that have been recently taken out of mothballs.
    From the position of being a lover of whisk(e)y, but no millionaire, I find it saddening that a delicious dram like this will be relegated to the status of speculative commodity or undrunk status symbol for those with more money than sense.

  2. John Hansell says:

    It is very expensive. And I agree that most whisky enthusiasts will not be able to afford it.

    The whisky is there for those who can afford it. The price woudn’t be that high if there weren’t buyers for it, and you can’t blame whisky companies for trying to make a profit on these rare whiskies.

    Fortunately there are also some great whiskies for a fraction of this price that most of us can afford.

  3. JC Skinner says:

    732 bottles is rare, but not astonishingly so. There are significantly rarer whiskies, usually lost remnants of long closed distilleries, that sell for a fraction of this sort of price in auctions.
    I accept that the distillery is pricing this so high because they can, and as I said, I don’t begrudge a distillery its profit.
    I just find it disheartening is all, because we both know that very few, if any, of these bottles will ever be opened for enjoyment.
    At those sort of prices, they automatically become investment vehicles.

  4. John Hansell says:

    Hopefully that people who can afford this whisky will be whisky enthusiasts and drink (and share) the whisky with those of us less fortunate.

  5. Suckered says:

    Dear John,

    After i saw your blog about the White Bowmore, it threw me into a funk. I can now honestly say that many whisky distilleries truly do not care about their products and are only concerned about their bottom lines. $6000 for the white bowmore? this is not some special earmarked casks where it created unsual colors like the Black Bowmore and supply and demand diminished it to a point of pricing it high, It’s just 6 barrels of old scotch held in bourbon barrels! So what that this was aged in the same warehouse as the Black Bowmores! This is just the latest scam which will drive more and more pure investors into singlemalts. before long every old whisky will cost over $10,000 and every distillery will hold out great barrels of whisky trying to have them age above 35 years so they can “justify” the hostage ransom price. When the drinker/collectors or the plain drinkers get tired of this, they will move more torwards american,irish,and japanese whisk(e)y. Scotch distilleries will be forced to sell more to europe and the far east, while those are huge emerging markets, we still are the largest consumer of Single Malts in the world and losing us will cripple them to almost to the point of what happened to Irish whiskey because of american prohibition. I say GREAT! Another example was the Ardbeg double barrel had an msrp of $20,000 in the USA, while in the UK for 7,500 Pounds or $15,000. There is no excuse for this discrepancy and i highly doubt that if they lowered their importing price to help the 3 tiered system here in the USA they would be losing that much profit in the long run. $280 for an 18 year old longrow? I’m not going to even Start compaining. I will not be suckered anymore into buying these whiskies !

    Suckered by Scottish Distilleries

  6. orangedog says:

    This is market segmentation – that’s all. There are whisky drinkers or people otherwise who will be interested in buying a $6,000 bottle of whisky, just as there are those who want Bowmore Legend. Who should say that the distillery shouldn’t serve both markets? Most distilleries have products that cover a wide pricing spectrum.

    There are hundreds upon thousands of great whiskies out there – no matter what your price level you won’t taste them all (unless you get tasting samples… John) – so what is the worry over one that’s out of the average person’s price range?

    The only legitimate gripe I see is that the upper end of the market is getting pushed up – which is only valid because the lower end is being pulled with it. But, that is as much of a problem with pricing of Lagavulin 16 or Laphroaig 25 as it is with White or Black Bowmore. Who knows, maybe they will drop down in 3 to 5 years – the cyclical progression many goods are exposed to.

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