Ron and Marek, what comparisons can be made between these two iconic brands? MAREK: I think history is really important. When you have a heritage so deep, you become a cultural icon really, because you've seen generations of change, generations of innovation happen. So I think the first synergy is that we are both brands with a deep heritage, and that heritage brings knowledge and that knowledge is exceptional. RON: Craftmanship sits at the forefront of both brands as well. It's about taking materials that are either naturally grown or man-made, taking time to create something from those materials, and being very thoughtful about the process. Both companies have craftmanship as their guiding light. It wouldn't be Bowmore, and it wouldn't be Aston Martin, if that wasn't the case. Since the formation of Bowmore and Aston Martin's partnership in 2019, what have the two brands learned from each other so far? MAREK: I learned a lot about taste, in terms of excellence as well as flavour. When someone explains why and how and what the delicacy of the process is, then you have a different understanding of the value of something. RON: My learnings are from my visit to the Aston Martin's factory in Gaydon. It was great to see Marek's passion for Aston Martin, just as I'm passionate about Bowmore. On top of that, it was amazing to see the precision that goes into the making of the cars. We have precision but it's not as intense as Aston Martin. Learning that and bringing that into how we produce a whisky has been so valuable. MAREK: The strange thing is that, due to the pandemic, I still haven't been to Bowmore! I feel I know the place because I've done plenty of virtual tours, but I still haven't smelt and felt the atmosphere of Bowmore. I can't wait to visit. Marek, tell us about the golden ratio, used at the heart of every Aston Martin design. MAREK: The golden ratio has existed for billions of years - it is effectively the way that nature puts things together. It's been studied by great artists and philosophers, and it was written down. Physically, it is the proportion of shape and form to give beauty. It's a measured beauty, and it exists everywhere we look. The nautilus shell is a perfect example; the segments of the shell will grow to fit within the golden ratio. At Aston Martin, this methodology is at the core of what we do. The cars are created within that golden ratio, so they have visual beauty at their core. Ron, how were you inspired by the golden ratio to create Masters' Selection Edition 1? RON: Using the golden ratio as a method of creating a whisky was certainly new to me, and something I've not known anybody else to do. Masters' Selection Edition 1 combines three different cask types, four different cask sizes and five previous contents, ranged over three different decades. There's complexity in there, in terms of cask styles and ages, but we've also used precision in terms of the proportions of the different styles. The proportion of first-fill sherry casks in the marriage is the exact golden ratio to the full amount of casks that are in there. The proportion that's left over is split between hogsheads and barriques, using the golden ratio again, and the barriques are then split between different previous contents using the golden ratio more than once. So we've used a number of different golden ratios, just like that nautilus shell. Talk to us about the liquid. How does it represent both Bowmore and Aston Martin? RON: The end goal was to reflect the elegance of an Aston Martin car. Just as an Aston Martin is beautiful to look at, the nose of this expression is so elegant. It's stunning. Then we move on to the palate. There are dark fruits in there from the sherry casks, and a bit of spice coming through. That's followed by a little nuttiness, and a bit of leather that reminds you of being inside an Aston Martin. MAREK: With Aston Martin you see the beauty instantly, but then it's about the enjoyment of driving; that's why people fall in love with Aston Martin and come back to buy our cars again and again. Masters' Selection Edition 1 is a whisky that looks and smells amazing, but it is the flavour that draws you back time and time again. You both have incredibly interesting jobs. Marek, tell us about your journey to becoming Aston Martin's Chief Creative Officer. MAREK: I've been a lover of design, the arts, and visual things from a young age, and I've always been passionate about drawing and learning how things are made. Part of that was because I grew up in Sheffield, in the industrial north of England, during a time when the steel industry was disappearing. My school used to do visits to places like Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet where we were shown how steel was first made before the Bessemer converter or the crucible pot, and I was fascinated by the process. From then on, I put my love of sketching and drawing together, and decided I wanted to be a designer. I'd always had a love for cars so inevitably it was my old man that said if you love cars, go and design cars. Don't design toasters because you'll always want to design a car! So, here I am. And Ron, what led you to working in whisky, ultimately becoming Bowmore's Master Blender? RON: Well, just like Marek, it was at school that I discovered my love for... Whisky?! RON: Not quite at that point! I loved learning how things are made, and that led me on to university to become a chemical engineer. As a coincidence, my first job when I left university was making steel. MAREK: Oh wow, I didn't know that. RON: As Marek said, the steel industry started to disappear. I moved away from steel and looked at what else was out there in terms of production, and the opportunity came about to work in the whisky industry, which at that time was more of an industrial setting. I worked with the master blender at Strathclyde Distillery, learning about looking after the quality of the whisky, before moving into inventory. For me, the inventory side is very fascinating. It's about mathematical equations and data and having the right quantities of whisky at the right quality. That moved me on to being a chief blender, and then on to being a master blender. I was with Laphroaig and Teacher's for many years before taking the role with Bowmore, Auchentoshan, and Glen Garioch, which all have fantastic inventories. Bowmore's inventory is huge, varied, and absolutely incredible. Every time I get a cask sample, I find a new style of Bowmore - still with that Bowmore DNA, but with a slightly different flavour due to being distilled in a different year, or with different raw materials. It's just brilliant. What have been the stand-out products you have worked on throughout your careers? MAREK: The exciting thing is that we're both working on things that will become classics in their time. Right now, I'm working on the cars that I know in 25 years will be cited as being true classics. During my 16 years at Aston Martin, my stand-out product has got to be the One-77, which was our first production car sold at over £1 million. The car was made using a mixture of technology and traditional methodology, and we made only 77 of them. We'd had heritage cars that had gained in value, but this as a new car that was sold initially at £1.2 million, and they are easily double that price now. If I had to pick a second car, it would be the Valkyrie which is all about our future. We've been developing the car for about four and a half years now and the first cars will be delivered to customers this year. We're making 150 and they sold out in 48 hours - and they are £2.5 million each! RON: In terms of defining moments for the distillery, you have to cite Black Bowmore as the whisky that put Bowmore on the map. Those first three editions, at 29, 30, and 31 years old, are absolutely fantastic whiskies. Repurposing some of that third addition for our first collaboration with Aston Martin is a stand-out for me. MAREK: I was lucky enough to receive a tiny bottle of Black Bowmore from Ron. It took me about four weeks to get through what should have been just a dram, because I didn't want to finish it all at the same time! I've still got the bottle and I open it to smell it every now and again. RON: Last year's Timeless series is another highlight of my seven years at Bowmore. I love the differences in maturation style and distillation style of the whiskies, relative to the decades from which they came. They are absolutely beautiful whiskies in lovely packaging. Masters' Selection will become a classic as well. Marek, have you always been a whisky fan? MAREK: Absolutely. You can taste the craftmanship that went into it; you can taste the heritage. You instantly get a feeling and a flavour of where it's from, and I think that's so romantic. You can stare into a fireplace with a glass of whisky, and just imagine. And Ron, have you had a drive in an Aston Martin yet?! RON: Funnily enough, I've had the opportunity and the privilege to drive four different Aston Martins. It's part of the inspiration for creating the whiskies. The experience of that acceleration, that's the intensity in the car... I think this has been a very successful first edition of Masters' Selection, and you'll just need to watch out for the editions coming after it. It's a stunning whisky. Are we allowed to know how many editions will be in the series? RON: More than one! There is plenty more to come. This partnership is here to stay for some time. MAREK: This is a long-time thing because there is a synergy. We're just starting the journey, and we intend to do great things. Just imagine how many more ideas we're going to cook up once I actually get to Bowmore. I think the most dangerous thing is putting Ron and I together in a room in person... it's going to be nuts! The original feature is from the Winter 2021 edition of Whiskeria, delivered to the door of W Club subscribers and also free with any Whisky Shop purchase in store or online. Click here to read the full Winter 2021 issue of Whiskeria online for free.