The Story Behind the ARC-52 Decanter from Bowmore and Aston Martin

Words by
Charlotte McManus

6th December 2023

A must-have for whisky aficionados and fine spirit collectors, this unique, limited edition features the ultra-rare Bowmore 52 Year Old single malt within a cutting-edge decanter. Artfully fusing heritage with innovation and created in collaboration with Aston Martin, the Bowmore ARC-52 decanter encapsulates a sense of perfect balance between spirit and vessel.


Promoted by Bowmore

Bowmore ARC-52 Decanter - 1
Bowmore ARC-52 Decanter

Crafted with infinite patience, dedication, and skill, and slowly maturing over a span of decades, an exceptional whisky is essentially time-bottled in liquid form. As Islay’s oldest licensed distillery – with more than 240 years’ experience of making world-class Scotch – Bowmore is better placed to understand this concept than most.


A prestigious collaboration between Bowmore and long-running partner Aston Martin deftly explores this theme of time through a combination of aged whisky with finely honed design. Limited to just 100 decanters across the world, the ARC-52 features one of Bowmore’s very oldest spirits housed within a cutting-edge glass vessel. The result is a highly covetable collectible, created to tempt whisky aficionados, collectors, and lovers of beautiful things alike.


Established in 2019, the global partnership between Bowmore and Aston Martin was forged from a mutual desire to collaborate on exclusive experiences and rare, limited-edition bottlings. Each sought-after edition is borne from the numerous commonalities shared by the two British luxury brands, including heritage, passion, innovation, and world-class craft. ARC-52 marks an extraordinary conception between these two partners in their ongoing successful relationship.

Bowmore ARC-52 Decanter - 2

An innovative marriage that amalgamates past and present, distillery and marque, the vision behind ARC-52 is an object travelling in two directions simultaneously. As its flowing, clean-lined form traces a curve through space, the decanter symbolises the journey through time undertaken by Bowmore throughout its long history, whilst ARC-52’s contemporary good looks place it firmly in the present.  


The rich golden spirit inside is the ultra-rare Bowmore 52 Year Old. A 1968 vintage, this single malt has been matured for over half a century within a combination of cask styles, precisely split 50/50 between European oak sherry butt and ex-bourbon American oak hogshead to evoke the distinctive characteristics of both in equal parts. The result is a distinctly complex yet impeccably balanced whisky.


“With a deep burnished gold hue, balance is the guiding principle of this incredibly scarce single malt,” says Ron Welsh, Beam Suntory Master Blender. A veritable expert in Scotch with over 30 years’ experience in the industry, Welsh’s unparalleled knowledge of casks, maturing, and the time-honoured craft of whisky-making render him an essential part of Bowmore’s prestigious Scotch offering, including ARC-52.


He adds: “The complexity of this single malt is unquestionable, but it is the perfect balance it strikes by uniting all its facets beautifully which defines it.:

Bowmore ARC-52 Decanter - 3

Upon sampling a dram, Bowmore enthusiasts will recognise the distillery’s signature tasting notes, encompassing a fragrant blend of herbal aspects that segue into exotic fruits, butterscotch, and praline on the finish.


“Creamy and fruity aromas of vanilla and custard cream are carefully balanced with peach, pear, kumquat, mandarin, and a hint of guava, with herbal notes of fresh mint and eucalyptus,” explains Welsh. “On the palate, this continues to evolve with flavours of green grapes and peach melba, clementine, and lime zest merge seamlessly alongside nutty notes of almond and hazelnuts, whilst tobacco leaves give way to a subtle peat ash and buttery character.”


Bowmore 52 Year Old’s expertly balanced principles are echoed in ARC-52’s sleek, individually hand-blown glass decanter, which is designed to the same exacting standards that shape Aston Martin cars. Accordingly, many of the marque’s own methods were involved in the design process, from handcrafted clay modelling to advanced 3D printing. Perfectly poised to rest on two points, the futuristic – and undeniably striking – vessel has been meticulously engineered with a fusion of natural and manmade contours.  

Bowmore ARC-52 Decanter - 4

“By marrying together one of the oldest and rarest Bowmore whiskies with the uncompromised principles of what makes an Aston Martin, we have created a timelessly beautiful piece of art,” says Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s Chief Creative Officer. “In envisioning the decanter, our design principles inspire and shape the outcome, taking a directionality rooted in the achievement of absolute balance and beauty through form. We have incorporated agility and stability in its creation, as well as the visual language of our design DNA.”


David Turner, Bowmore Distillery Manager adds: “To bring such remarkable aged whisky to life in a design-defying decanter captures the absolute unique and masterful nature of the spirit itself.”


As might be expected by a product of this calibre, ARC-52 comes in a suitably handsome presentation case. Handmade by artisans in Florence, it is coloured dark blue and embossed with waves to resemble the waters that surround Islay, Bowmore’s island home. String-grain calfskin adds a luxurious tactility to the design, whilst a bespoke magnetic key is used to seamlessly release the aluminium top and reveal the decanter inside. Those wanting to show off their acquisition to its best advantage can do so with the detachable chamois fitment protecting the vessel; once removed, it can be adapted into an interlocking plinth, allowing owners to proudly display their ARC-52 with 360-degree views when secured to the top of the case.

Bowmore ARC-52 Decanter - 5

ARC-52 marked the first in a landmark series from Bowmore and Aston Martin, hinting at additional editions in the future – as fans of both distillery and marque were no doubt delighted to speculate on.


“ARC-52 is a definitive interpretation of the maturation talent and expertise which lies at the heart of Bowmore Distillery,” says Turner. “This exceptionally rare whisky celebrates the most significant era of our distillation, which today continues to shape another chapter in our story – and which will undoubtedly leave its mark on our legacy for generations to come.”

Limited to a run of 100 decanters globally, ARC-52 is can be purchased via contacting Master of Malt and Harrods.

Please savour Bowmore responsibly, and always follow the DrinkSmart rules.