The Bowmore Distillery

The old Bowmore Distillery on the Scottish isle of Islay is in so many ways a very special company - just as its whiskies.

Bowmore Logo

Bowmore is a distillery on the Scottish isle of Islay that is located about 50 kilometre south-west of mainland Scotland. This island is also called The Queen of the Hebrides and is home to eight distilleries. Bowmore is one of them and is named after the small village, which could be referred to as the capital of Islay. The Name is derived from the Scottish Gaelic Bogh Mòr and is to be translated as great sea reef . The distillery is located close to the sea on the shore of Loch Indaal. It is claimed that this proximity to the salt-water of the Atlantic Ocean has a very special impact on maturing of the whiskies.

The Bowmore distillery
© The Bowmore destillery

The Bowmore distillery was founded in 1779 and thus has more than 230 years of history, experience and tradition. It was not only the first legal distillery on the whole isle of Islay but is just eleven years younger than its home town Bowmore. It was established by David Simson, who was a farmer and entrepreneur and later run by his family. Over the time, the ownership changed several times and with it the name of the distillery. During the period of the Second World War the production paused and the buildings were used as a military base for flying boats. Since 1994, the Japanese Suntory Holding is owner of Bowmore.

Bowmore's warehouse "the No. 1 Vaults" - providing perfect conditions

The Bowmore distillery - The No. 1 Vault© | the No. 1 Vaults

There are various aspects of the Bowmore Distillery that make this company and itswhiskies so special. Firstly, it is part of theIslay whisky culture. Malts from this island are renowned as verysmoky and peated. Bowmore sticks to this rule. Then, the three oldtraditional malting floorsare still operated. Every four hours the germinating barley is turned by hand until it is ready for processing after five to seven days. The next step for the germinated barley, or green malt as it is called, is the process of drying in the kiln.

The kiln is heated by a peat fire what gives already a particular smoky flavour to the malt. Another indicator for the closeness to tradition are the old washbacks, which still consist of massive Oregon pine. In these tubs the fermentation takes place. The last step of the whisky production is the maturing. Bowmore's warehouse "the No. 1 Vaults" provides perfect conditions for this important phase. Its constantly cold and damp climate is all the whisky needs. By the way, "the No. 1 Vault" is the only warehouse below sea level. Another special feature, which has probably less impact on thequality of the whisky, is a leisure centre that is built in an old warehouse of the Bowmore Distillery. The company gave it to the community so that a new swimming pool could be installed. Now the waste heat of the distillery is used to warm up the swimming pool.

No. 1 Washback© | No. 1 Washback

The Bowmore Distillery is producing mainly single malts and is doing so with great success. By having a look on the list of medals that Bowmore has been awarded during the International Spirits Challenge 2014, it becomes obvious that these are of a premium quality.

Award-winning Bowmore Whiskies© | Award-winning Bowmore Whiskies

The Bowmore distillery won gold for:

  • Bowmore 15 Year Old Darkest
  • Bowmore Devil s Cask
  • Bowmore Springtide
  • Bowmore Black Rock

And silver went to:

  • Bowmore Small Batch
  • Bowmore 12 Year Old
  • Bowmore 18 Year Old
  • Bowmore 25 Year Old
  • Bowmore Gold Reef
  • Bowmore White Sands
  • Bowmore 23 Years Old Port Matured

The whiskies of the Bowmore Distillery can be categorized into the core range, the limited editions and travel exclusive.

Below all current Bowmore products are listed:

  • Bowmore Legend
    Matured in a selection of the finest bourbon casks.
  • Bowmore Small Batch
    Spent its time in first and second fill ex bourbon casks.
  • Bowmore 12 Year Old
    Is described as vanilla ice cream at a beach bonfire.
  • Bowmore 15 Year Old Darkest
    One of gold medal winner and the Distillery Manager s favourite.
  • Bowmore 18 Year Old
    A masterpiece with flavours of dark chocolate, soft fruit and a light smokiness.
  • Bowmore 25 Year Old
    The result of ageing 25 years in ex bourbon and ex sherry casks is this premium Scotch.
  • Bowmore 50 Year Old
    The last 50 bottles of this treasure will be released in 2016.
  • Bowmore Devil s Cask
    The name derives from a legend, which says that the Devil was chased through the village and hid in a whisky barrel.
  • Bowmore Tempest
    So far five batches of this single malt have been released.
  • Bowmore Laimrig
    Convinces taste of sherry, chocolate, smoke and raisins and a strength of 54.1 %.
  • Bowmore 1981
    The first of the Bowmore vintage series.
  • Bowmore 1982
    Matured 29 years in the No. 1 Vaults.
  • Bowmore 1985
    This limited edition is non chill-filtered and matured in sherry and bourbon casks.
  • Bowmore Black Bowmore 1964
    Having a look at the dark almost ebony-like colour, it becomes clear why it is called Black Bowmore.
  • Bowmore White Bowmore 1964
    Distilled on the same day as the Black Bowmore, the great contrast results from maturing in bourbon casks only.
  • Bowmore Gold Bowmore 1964 Spent its time just in three bourbon casks and a single Oloroso cask before it was married together.
  • Bowmore 40 Years Old
    Only 53 hand-blown and sculpted bottles have been filled with this extraordinary dram.
  • Bowmore 1964 Fino
    The fresh, crisp aromas of ripe peaches, pink grapefruit and a hint of sea-salt developed during the maturation in bourbon and Fino sherry casks.
  • Bowmore 1957
    With 54 years it is the oldest Islay single malt that has been released.
  • Bowmore 23 Year Old Port Matured
    As the name says, it matured exclusively in port casks.
  • Bowmore Black Rock
    A sublime balance of smoke, toffee and orange.
  • Bowmore Gold Reef
    An award-winning single malt Scotch with a bright golden sheen.
  • Bowmore White Sands
    It was left in the finest oak casks for 17 years and named after the white beaches of Islay s coast.
  • Bowmore Springtide
    Spanish Oloroso sherry casks gave a delectable flavour of chocolate, figs, toffee, and of course some typical smoke.
  • Bowmore 1984
    30 long years in bourbon and sherry casks to reach the state of a premium whisky.
Bowmore 12 Years Old© | Bowmore 12 Years Old
Bowmore 15 Years Old 'Darkest'© | Bowmore 15 Years Old 'Darkest'
Bowmore 18 Years Old© | Bowmore 18 Years Old
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