Last year, Fender's Custom Shop announced a special version of the Blues Junior guitar amp called the 80 Proof, encased in a cabinet made from Kentucky bourbon barrels. Now it's the turn of the guitar to be drenched in authentic golden tones. The oldest licensed whiskey distillery in Ireland, Bushmills, has teamed up with Lowden Guitars to launch a limited edition acoustic guitar made from Irish whiskey barrels and ancient bog oak.
Irish whiskey has been rolling out in oak barrels from the Old Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, for 400 years. Luthier George Lowden, also from Northern Ireland, hasn't been making guitars for quite so long, but has seen his instruments played by top artists like Eric Clapton and Ed Sheeran. The Kane family and Lowden collaboration has resulted in the Bushmills x Lowden F-50 guitar, which is limited to just eight examples.
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The instrument is made up of three different types of wood and the first of the batch is reported to have taken over 40 hours to design and build. The whiskey barrel oak was personally selected by master craftsman George Lowden himself, who has been pioneering acoustic guitar-making techniques since 1974. This has been used for the guitar backs, the 12th fret inlay, the bindings, rosette and head facings.
The back and sides are fashioned from ancient bog oak, while the soundboard up top is reclaimed sinker redwood. There's a cross symbol on the back that's formed by a copper's hammer and a luthier's chisel, while the inlay work continues down the center with two curved lines representative of the staves of the whiskey barrel.
"The three woods used to create the guitar play an integral part in making the Bushmills x Lowden so unique," said Lowden. The bog oak is said to produce a mellow, warm sound, with the rosewood delivering "clarity and sparkle." Both are complimented by the barrel wood.
Each Bushmills x Lowden F-50 carries a price tag of £8,500 (around US$11k) and is available direct from Lowden Guitars. Purchases will be accompanied by a hand-made presentation box made with sinker redwood and whiskey barrel woods. The video below provides a quick look at the collaboration and the build.
Source: Lowden Guitars