Iconic brands Bushmills Irish Whiskey – the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland – and Lowden Guitars – one of the world’s finest acoustic guitar manufacturers – have created a new limited edition guitar made from Bushmills Irish whiskey barrels and ancient bog oak.
The two Northern Irish icons known for their unwavering character and quality craftsmanship have collaborated on the ‘Bushmills x Lowden’ guitar to celebrate those who pass their craft and legacy to the next generation.
At the Old Bushmills Distillery, the Kane family has been coopering barrels for four generations passing their specialist skills down through the years to ensure Bushmills delivers the same premium quality whiskey it began making 400 years ago. Similarly, George Lowden, the founder of Lowden Guitars, has pioneered acoustic guitar building techniques since 1974 selecting only the very best quality woods to make his famous guitars and is passing his guitar making skills onto his sons, to ensure the Lowden legacy will live on for generations to come.
The limited edition ‘Bushmills x Lowden’ F-50 guitar, of which only eight are available to buy, combines hundreds of years of cooper and luthier craftmanship with three types of wood that are steeped in heritage and character. George Lowden personally selected Bushmills® Irish Whiskey barrel wood for the 12th fret and back inlays, the bindings, rosette and head facings; ancient bog oak for the back and sides of the guitar; and sinker redwood for the soundboard.
It took George and his sons more than 40 hours to design and build the first guitar in this limited range. Other features of this unique guitar include a cross symbol formed of a cooper’s hammer and luthier’s chisel, representing the coming together of these two crafts. On the back, two lines echo the staves found in a Bushmills Irish Whiskey barrel and represent the passing of skills from one generation to the next.
George Lowden, whose acoustic guitars have been used by some of the world’s most famous artists, including Gary Lightbody, Ed Sheeran and Eric Clapton, said: “We scour the world for the best tonewoods which are the real ‘stars’ of our guitars, determining how they sound, feel, and play, so my sons and I relished the opportunity to work with the Coopers to select the best Bushmills Irish Whiskey barrel wood for the guitar. It was a great opportunity to see up close how the barrels are formed and how they give the whiskey its color and flavor.
“The three woods used to create the guitar play an integral part in making the Bushmills x Lowden so unique. Bushmills Irish Whiskey barrel wood is steeped in over 400 years of whiskey making heritage and used throughout to perfectly compliment the other tone woods. The back and sides are made up of Ancient Bog Oak to offer a mellow, warm sound and when paired with Sinker Redwood on the soundboard, it helps extract a clarity and sparkle from each and every note the guitar produces.”
Colum Egan, Master Distiller at Bushmills Irish Whiskey, adds: “Lowden Guitars are famous for their workmanship and quality, and we are proud to join forces with George and his sons on this exciting collaboration which celebrates how specialist hand-crafted skills are not bought, but perfected over time and passed from generation to generation.
“At Bushmills, our coopers’ craft and skill are as fundamental to Irish whiskey making as the oak barrels they work with, ensuring we produce the same premium quality whiskey we began making over 400 years ago. It has been an honor to work with Lowden Guitars, who like us understand the important role wood has to play in making their guitars so unique.”