This $85,000 Bowmore Whisky Uses an Aston Martin Piston for a Bottle

Bowmore & Sharp

Bowmore Single Malt Scotch has seen a lot of milestones at its stunning waterfront distillery in Scotland’s remote Islay region, but the year 1964 stands out as a defining moment — not just for the distillery, but in the history of single malt whisky.

It takes time to handcraft a bottle with an actual piston from an Aston Martin melded into it —roughly a week for each of the 25 Black Bowmore DB5 1964 vessels. It’s well worth the wait, though, since each one of these stunning bottles tells the story of two legends that have perfected their craft by striking the ideal balance between preserving traditional methods and embracing progress. The year 1964 was a defining moment for both, since it was a turning point that marked the beginning of a bright new future, but one that was still deeply rooted in age-old practices of craft, patience, and taking your time.


Hard to say exactly when the very first drop of whisky poured off the still in Bowmore, but the first mention of the distillery is in 1779, when it became the Isle of Islay’s first licensed distillery and the second to have a licence in all of Scotland.


New owners William and James Mutter start making big plans for the distillery, including engineering the “Bowmore lade,” an ambitious 14-kilometre canal that carries pristine water mostly uphill from the River Laggan to the stills. It took over a decade to complete, but all these years later, the “lade” is still the source for the fresh, “soft” water that makes the whisky so special.


Aston Martin Launched Aston Martin is founded in England by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford, who work out of a small shop in London. Both men share a love of all things beautiful and a passion for cars, because cars, they feel, provided some of life’s most exhilarating and memorable experiences.

Aston Martin


As the Second World War erupts, the stills are shut down and Bowmore’s entire facility is loaned out to new occupants, the Royal Air Force, which uses the waterfront distillery as a base for its anti-sub-marine missions.


Stanley P. Morrison buys the distillery, promising a new era of Scottish whisky-making at Bowmore, one that combines traditional methods with more efficient modern technology.



The Bowmore distillery ends the era of coal-fired power with the installation of a massive steam-powered boiler, so big that it takes the help of the Royal Navy to get it safely ashore. Although it was the talk of the town, nobody could have guessed how significant this moment was. The first batch of whisky distilled with the new equipment was destined to become one of the most sought-after whiskies in the world — the legendary Black Bowmore distilled on November 5, 1964.

1964: 007 Drives the DB5 

Everything changes for Aston Martin when a fictional spy played by Sean Connery makes a memorable getaway at the wheel of Aston’s new DB5 in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger. Suddenly, Aston Martin is a household name, and the DB5, well, it becomes an icon.

Aston Martin


To celebrate the distillery’s 200th birthday, Bowmore releases a special blend of whisky barrelled off in the 1950s and 1960s and packages it up in hand-blown commemorative bottles with an 18th-century feel. It’s still considered one of the finest whiskies ever released.


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II chooses Bowmore for her first-ever visit to
a Scottish whisky distillery. They mark the occasion by filling a barrel with whisky in her honour and then quickly stashing the “Royal Cask” in the “No. 1 Vaults,” the oldest Scotch maturation warehouse in existence.



After 29 years “resting” in first-fill sherry casks in Bowmore’s No. 1 Vaults, the spirit of ’64 — the first liquid distilled with the steam boiler is finally ready to meet the world. The whisky, dark from the sherry casks, is christened “Black Bowmore” and, upon release, is so widely praised that it helps put Scottish single malt on the map as a top luxury product.


To celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Royal Jubilee, Bowmore sent 629 bottles of 22-year- old whisky the contents of the Royal Cask to Buckingham Palace. Over the years, many of these have been donated to charity auctions to raise money for important causes.

2003: “The Flying

Scot,” a.k.a. Formula One racing great Jackie Stewart, brings his good friend Sean Connery to the distillery to check in on Stewart’s private cask of 1965 whisky, laid down to celebrate the Flying Scot’s Italian Grand Prix win.



Islay’s oldest distillery releases 12 precious bottles of Bowmore 1957, a 54-year-old whisky that, at the time, was the oldest Islay single malt released.

2015: A New Era

The Aston Martin DB10 featured in Spectre kicks off an exciting new era for the automaker. Officially just a concept car made for the film, the understated yet aggressive DB10 previewed an entirely new range of sports cars from Aston, including the DB11 coupe and V8 Vantage.

Aston Martin


Bottle Number One of Bowmore 1957 is auctioned off at Sotheby’s and commands a record-smashing £363,000.



The distillery joins Aston Martin to celebrate their shared legacy with the release of 25 bottles of Black Bowmore DB5 1964, a rare chance to taste the spirit of ’64, a year that would turn out to be an auspicious one for both of these icons of luxury.


2020: The DB5 Returns

Today, the DB5 is arguably the most famous car in the world. For its part, Aston Martin is celebrating this car’s rich heritage by making 25 new DB5 Goldfinger Continuation cars, complete with gadgets like rear smoke screen, revolving licence plate, and (simulated) machine guns.



Thomas Sean Connery was born in the slums of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1930, the son of a factory worker and a cleaner. He worked as a bricklayer and coffin polisher, and was briefly in the Royal Navy before finding steady work as an actor. It was an upbringing not entirely unlike that of the fictional spy he would eventually become famous for portraying. As an actor, Connery showed generations of young people what it was to be cool. With a devilish smile equal parts charming and dangerous, he travelled the world to slay villains, sleep with women, and drive fast cars. It was an impossible fantasy to which fans nevertheless aspired. The films may be dated now, but his performance is still as magnetic as ever. Sean Connery passed away at 90 years old in Nassau, Bahamas.