Bowmore ARC-52: The ‘Mokume Edition’ sells for £225,000 at Sotheby’s in London, proceeds to be donated to Islay

bowmore ARC 52 the mokume edition sells for 225000 at sothebys in london proceeds to be donated to islay

Bowmore ARC-52: The ‘Mokume Edition’ sells for £225,000 at Sotheby’s in London, proceeds to be donated to Islay 

Bowmore ARC-52: The ‘Mokume Edition’ sells for £225,000 at Sotheby’s in London, proceeds to be donated to Islay
Unique decanter specially designed by Aston Martin featuring a 52-year-old vintage whisky from Bowmore. All proceeds raised from the auction will be donated to a dedicated fund to support the people of Islay, the home of the Bowmore Distillery.

London, 26 May 2023: Following the Sotheby’s sale earlier today in London, Bowmore ARC-52: The ‘Mokume Edition’ has sold for £225,000 ($236,738 USD). All proceeds raised from the auction will go towards a dedicated fund to support the community of Islay.

The unique ARC-52 decanter offered one of Bowmore’s oldest ever whiskies, housed within a ground-breaking vessel designed by Aston Martin.

The winning bidder not only walked away with a piece of whisky history, but also will have the opportunity to enjoy an experience at Bowmore Distillery on Islay, experiencing the limited-edition Aston Martin DBX Bowmore Edition, the brand’s first luxury SUV.

Daryl Haldane, Global Private Client Director, Beam Suntory commented, “We are delighted with the successful sale of the unique Bowmore ARC-52: The ‘Mokume Edition’ today. We are incredibly proud that this auction continues Bowmore’s highly prized single malt status amongst collectors and whisky enthusiasts around the world, who appreciate its craftsmanship and heritage.”

Robbie Millar, Managing Director Scotch & Irish, Beam Suntory, added: “We are very pleased to donate the proceeds from today’s auction back to Islay, where we plan to support initiatives which will have a positive impact on Bowmore’s friends and neighbours on the island for years to come. We look forward to sharing more detail about the specific projects we will be supporting in due course.”

Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s Head of Whisky & Spirits, North America and EMEA, said: “Bowmore’s Arc-52 Mokume Edition is as much a masterpiece of design as it is an exclusive whisky. These two legacy British brands have produced something that is visually spectacular to house a totally unique liquid time capsule. Today’s most dedicated collectors aim not only to collect legendary bottles, but particularly those which are unique. The price achieved for the Mokume is testament to this.”


ARC-52: The ‘Mokume Edition’

The concept for this one of one Edition takes its name from the Japanese metalworking technique ‘Mokume-Gane’ which produces a mixed-metal laminate with distinctive layered patterns. The carbon fibre top of the decanter has been created using a unique process which mirrors the mokume texture and mimics a natural aesthetic, much like wood grain or layered natural rock. The finish achieved can be said to imitate both the black rocks in the bay of Loch Indaal, home to the Bowmore Distillery, and also the inside of the charred cask where special 52-year-old whisky was aged. A truly multi-dimensional single malt, this masterpiece has been crafted from spectacular marriage of some of the oldest Bowmore vintages from the 1960s, an iconic era of Bowmore distilling.


Notes to editors

In February 2021, Sotheby’s sold a bottle of Black Bowmore Aston Martin DB5 for $118,750. Launched by Bowmore in 2020, of the 27 bottles produced, 25 were released, with the two remaining bottles destined for Bowmore Distillery’s archive. Of all Aston Martin’s models, the DB5 reigns supreme as its most iconic, since its rise to stardom in the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger.

Sotheby’s has set records for both Bowmore and Aston Martin in recent years. In December 2021, a bottle of Bowmore Onyx 51-Year-Old 1970 – presented in a hand-blown, 1.4l black glass vessel taking its inspiration from the terroir of its island home – sold for £400,000 / $532,340. In 2017 a DB1/1 sold at RM Sotheby’s Californian auction for $22.5 million, making it the most valuable British car ever sold at auction.

Proceeds from previous auctions have also been donated to the Islay Development Initiative and The Distillers’ Charity.


Bowmore ARC-52 Mokume Edition tasting notes:

CASK TYPES: European oak Sherry seasoned and American oak Hogshead

AGE: 52 Years Old, 1968

ABV: 43.5%

Tasting notes

ON THE EYE: Deep burnished gold.

BREATHE IN: Fresh and fruity notes with a nod to the rich sweetness of Creme Brulé, sees the emergence aromas of apricots, green apples, orange zest and guava. Herbal notes of fresh menthol, eucalyptus and liquorice root provide a contrasting yet balanced character

TASTE: Honey sweet, fruity, and citric characters from flavours of green apple, apricot and tangerine are seamlessly merged with the nutty notes of macadamia and walnuts. Oaky notes unite with light peat for a mouth warming delight.

SAVOUR: Long and mouth drying with a touch of marine minerality.



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Sotheby’s Wine’s annual worldwide auction sales of wine and spirits achieved a record total of $158 million in 2022, a 20% increase from 2021. Sotheby’s currently holds the world records for any whisky collection ever sold at auction, any private wine collection ever sold at auction, the most valuable bottle of wine ever sold at auction and the most valuable bottle of spirits ever sold at auction, in addition to the highest ever total for a charity wine auction.

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* Estimates do not include buyer's premium or overhead premium. Prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer's premium and overhead premium and are net of any fees paid to the purchaser where the purchaser provided an irrevocable bid.


For over 240 years, the Bowmore Distillery has been capturing the essence of Islay from the shores of its remote island home. Shaped by centuries of skill and tradition, Bowmore’s single malt harnesses the power of this time in every single drop, defined by the past and savoured in the present.

Time is defining at Bowmore® and we tirelessly harness the power of time to shape our whiskies. Our distillery’s adherence to traditional production methods helps to shape the character of our fruity and smoky single malts. Today, we are amongst one of a few distilleries which still produces its own floor malted barley, hand-turned by a traditional wooden malt shovel and hand drawn machinery. Water for the whiskies is specially drawn from the Laggan River, with its rich peaty overtones – the same Islay peat that fires the malt-drying kiln.

Bowmore® Distillery's proximity to the sea is also vital in determining the final character of its spirit and gives a hint of sea air to the character. The legendary Bowmore® No. 1 Vaults is where most of the whiskies spend their long lives resting quietly in the cool, dark, damp cellars below sea level, oblivious to the waves thrashing the vault's sea-facing wall.

Matured in oak casks, previously used for bourbon, sherry, or claret, over time developing rich and mellow flavours until the expertise of our whisky makers deems them ready for bottling. It is this combination of peat, barley, sea breeze, water, wood, people, and tradition that makes Bowmore the exceptional single malt it is today.

Time is marked on each and every bottle of Bowmore, proudly and boldly as a marker of where and when each one’s journey began. This is our story of time. This is Bowmore; the Art of Time since 1779.   


As a world leader in premium spirits, Beam Suntory inspires the brilliance of life by delivering great consumer experiences through its world-class portfolio of brands. Known for its craftsmanship of premium whiskies, including Jim Beam®, Maker's Mark®, Basil Hayden® and Knob Creek® bourbons; Japanese whiskies, including Yamazaki®, Hakushu®, Hibiki® and Toki™; and leading Scotch brands including Teacher's, Laphroaig® and Bowmore®, Beam Suntory also produces leading brands such as Courvoisier® cognac, Tres Generaciones®, El Tesoro® and Hornitos® tequila, Roku™ and Sipsmith® gin, Canadian Club® whisky, and is a world leader in ready-to-drink cocktails, with brands like -196 and On The Rocks® Premium Cocktails.

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