ARC-52, Bowmore and Aston Martin's exciting new whisky project

How Bowmore and Aston Martin have harnessed ‘heritage and innovation’ to create the ARC-52 whisky

How Bowmore and Aston Martin have harnessed ‘heritage and innovation’ to create the ARC-52 whisky

A partnership between Bowmore and Aston Martin has produced ARC-52, a special item that oozes with class both inside and out. Spear’s went for a taste test

There are collabs and then there are collabs. And a new partnership between Bowmore and Aston Martin is certainly one of the latter.

The 240-year-old Scottish whisky house and the pedigreed car manufacturer have come together to create what they’re calling ARC-52, a limited-edition run of 100 decanters engineered by Aston Martin to provide the perfect showcase for the distillery’s rare 1968 single malt.

The design of the decanter has been masterminded by Aston Martin chief crea- tive officer Marek Reichman. Its smooth lines and clean curvature are the product of steady-handed craftsmanship and the same 3D printing and clay modelling techniques that are used to develop the marque’s legendary cars.

As with the whisky itself, ‘balance’ is the most important factor in the design, says Reichman. ‘What we have created is truly a piece of sculpture… we’ve harnessed heritage and innovation.’

The top of the decanter has been cast in aluminium. Its clasp can be opened only by a specially created magnetic key – a touch that helps retain a minimalist aesthetic and also brings to mind the Bondian spyware that the carmaker has been associated with since the DB5 appeared in Goldfinger in 1964.

The hand-blown glass houses a liquid that has been aged for 52 years in a combination of two cask styles: exactly 50 per cent from an American oak hogshead cask and 50 per cent from a European oak butt cask.

Warm, rich and buttery, Bowmore’s exceptionally rare single malt is soft and velvety, with a kick that mellows with each sip. At a tasting, Spear’s detected notes of almond, custard and citrus.

Ron Welsh, Bowmore’s master blender, says the partnership ‘has allowed us to create what, in my opinion, is the best Bowmore over 50 years old that I’ve ever tasted’.

Prospective ARC-52 buyers will have to part with $75,000 (that’s excluding VAT, by the way) for one of the 100 limited-edition decanters, which will go on sale later this summer. But even so, getting in line now is probably advisable.

Spear’s Magazine presents Spear’s 500 Live on 7 September. Find more information on