Islay Scotch whisky Bowmore has partnered with graphic artist Frank Quitely to kick-off its whisky series, launching with a 23- and 32-year-old expression.
The new series, named Bowmore No Corners to Hide, is limited edition range that takes inspiration from an ancient Islay myth.
Graphic artist Frank Quitely, who has illustrated for Marvel and DC comics, has worked with Bowmore’s master blender Ron Welsh to bottle the first two bespoke whiskies in the range: a 23-year-old and a 32-year-old single malt.
Frank Quitely, acclaimed contemporary illustrator, said: “To get the call from Bowmore, a legendary icon in the world of whisky, offering me the opportunity of retelling the Islay Legend No Corners to Hide was hugely exciting.
“And to do this in a single image would prove massively challenging, but taking inspiration in the devil himself – it’s all in the detail.”
Bowmore distillery has been based in Islay for 240 years. The ancient myth, which inspired the whiskies, tells of a church with no corners, built by the people on the island in 1767, as rounded walls were believed to keep the devil out. As the devil revealed itself in the walls of the church anyway, the people of Islay chased the devil out into Bowmore distillery. It is then presumed the devil hid inside a whisky cask.
The collection has been created to celebrate Islay and the heritage of its people.
Manuel González, marketing director global travel retail for Beam Suntory, said: “Bowmore has a rich history filled with myths and legends, and we’re delighted to partner with the award winning Frank Quitely to bring these tales to life.
“Possessing a proven track record of producing collectible artwork with both Marvel and DC, the Frank Quitely Collection is our latest exciting collaboration to offer luxury limited editions to our customers.”
The 23-year-old was matured in ex-Bourbon American oak hogsheads, followed by two years spent in Essencia barriques.
The resulting liquid presents floral and spicy notes on the nose, along with the fragrance of sweet peas. The palate contains sweet flavours of golden syrup, acacia honey and marzipan, while the finish is described as creamy yet lightly salty.
Bottled at 51.5% ABV, the Scotch retails for RRP US$400.
Meanwhile, the 32-year-old saw a similar crafting process, but spent a lengthy 30 years in ex-Bourbon American oak hogsheads, with two years of further maturation in Essencia barriques.
On the nose, the 32-year-old presents aromas of orange peel, Manuka honey and salted caramel. On the palate, the liquid boasts a touch of liquorice and fresh tobacco, followed by a subtle smoke finish. The bottle can be purchased for RRP US$2,995.
Ron Welsh, master blender, said: “Much like the devil, both aged spirits took their own particularly unusual defining journey in Essencia barriques, a peculiarly rare ‘rose oak’ dating back to the 1830s.
“The tasting notes reflect the notes from the story and in each sip transports you to that cold winter’s night.”
The brand has released a video documenting the myth, referencing the two inspired whiskies produced as a result of the tale.
The spot ends with the tagline ‘no corners to hide’, reminding the viewers of both the Islay myth and reinforcing the brand’s new single malt collection launch.
The bottles are available in select global travel retail outlets including Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Vienna, Dubai, Singapore and Taiwan.
The 23-year-old and 32-year-old are the first releases in the Bowmore and Frank Quitely collaboration, which will see a number of launches inspired by stories from Bowmore’s historic past.
Bowmore recently unveiled the ‘ultimate’ rare whisky collection for 2022, including a 1969 bottling priced at £35,000 (US$47,700).
In July, the brand unveiled three limited edition bottle designs for global travel retail as part of its collaboration with Aston Martin.