Courtesy of Bushmills Irish Whiskey

And it sounds pretty good, too.

Mike Pomranz
June 22, 2017

Plenty of great guitar-driven songs are “soaked in whiskey” – a polite way of saying that the artist behind it was a bit of a drunk. But as for the guitars themselves, unless said artist was a touch too tipsy to find his mouth while performing, the instruments typically stay dry. However, for musicians looking to truly intertwine their booze with their six-string, Lowden Guitars and Bushmills Irish Whiskey have teamed up to release a guitar made in part from Bushmills whiskey barrels.

Granted, these limited-edition, hand-crafted guitars are far from being entirely made of old whiskey barrels. The bulk of the instrument is made from ancient bog oak and reclaimed sinker redwood: The former is used for the back and sides; the latter for the soundboard (basically the front part of the guitar). Instead, Bushmills barrels are used for the “appointments” – which are essentially the decorative elements of the instrument: the back inlay, soundbox bevel, bindings, rosette, head facings, and a special Bushmills 12th fret inlay. Sadly, as a result, you can’t brag to your friends that the entire guitar reverberates with the sound of whiskey-soaked wood, but it’s not like the guitars your friends have were made with any whiskey barrel wood so why do you have to impress them?!

“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,” said George Lowden in a statement. “It was a great opportunity to see up close how the barrels are formed and how they give the whiskey its colour and flavour."  

Only eight of these Bushmills x Lowden F-50 guitars have been produced, and as would probably be expected, the price is steep: £8,500 (over US$10,000). Assuming, you’d like to listen before you buy, Bushmills released an “Acoustic Session” video featuring Northern Irish singer-songwriter Ciaran Lavery  with the guitar’s sound supporting Lavery’s delightfully world-weary voice.

For the record, this isn’t the first time a guitar has been made using whiskey barrel wood. In fact, it’s not even the first time a guitar has been made from Bushmills barrels. Back in 2012, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and guitar maker Gordy Bischoff built a one-of-a-kind electric baritone guitar almost entirely out of a Bushmills whiskey barrel that was auctioned off for charity. That sold for $9,400. But, you know, inflation and all.