Bowmore is one of those names that everybody vaguely familiar with whisky will recognize, no wonder as it has a long and rich history being the first distillery on Islay to obtain legal status back in 1779.

This Islay distillery sits on the shore of Loch Indaal in the centre of the town of Bowmore from which the distillery takes its name .Bowmore is also distinguished for producing the oldest ever Islay malt, being a 1957 malt bottled at 54 years old in a crystal decanter with a price tag of around the £100,000 mark.

The company has changed hands number of times during the more than two centuries of its existence. The current owner is the Japanese beverage giant Suntory, who acquired 100% ownership in 1994, after an initial purchase of a 34% stake five years earlier. On top of owning Bowmore, Suntory also owns Laphroaig, Ardmore, Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch along with American and Japanese brands.

The distillery is one of the few distilleries who still have a working malting on site, malting a large portion of the barley which goes into making its whisky. Style wise Bowmore is peated and lighter than many of the heavier Islay whiskies. It tends to be matured in sherry casks for a long time. Typical flavours are light smoke, sherry sweetness, dried fruits, banana, many older bottlings also contain floral notes, especially violets.

Key Points

  • The oldest legal distillery on Islay
  • The oldest ever Islay whisky, 54 years, was from Bowmore
  • One of the few distilleries to maintain on site malting
  • Peated but to a lighter level than many of the typical Islay malts

Tasting Profile

Light smoke, sherry sweetness, dried fruits, banana and for some older bottling floral notes especially violets.