Bowmore

The Scottish Bowmore distillery is located on the idyllic island of Islay (pronounced 'Aila'), which is part of the Inner Hebrides. Bowmore was founded in the 18th century, making it one of Scotland's oldest distilleries.

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Information about the Distillery
571 Bottles
Scotland, Islay
-6.286107 55.757373
Active
Suntory
2 x 20,000 l
Gedrungen
2 x 11,500 l
Normal
6 x 40,000 l
8 t
1779
2,000,000 l
http://www.bowmore.co.uk/
Average tasting notes Tasting notes
i
Nosing
Peat Smoke:
Sweet:
Sherry:
Fruit:
Peat Smoke:
Zitrus:
Oak:
Sweet:
Caramel:
Vanilla:
Maritime Notes:
Herb:
Chocolate:
Spices:
Bonfire Smoke:
Seaweed:
Sherry:
Honey:
Fruit:
Herbs:
Dried Fruit:
Raisin:
Dark Chocolate:
Zitrus:
Orange:
Berries:
Nuts:
Malt:
Salt:
Oak:
Caramel:
Ham:
Leather:
Lemon:
Honey:
Heather:
Plum:
Vanilla:
Maritime Notes:
Floral:
Tropical Fruit:
Bonfire Smoke:
Herbs:
Seaweed:
Alcohol:
Blackberry:
Herb:
Apple:
Cinnamon:
Lemon:
Medicinal Smoke:
Cherry:
Spices:
Chocolate:
Pineapple:
Hay:
Lime:
Date:
Pepper:
Pear:
Grape:
Peach:
Orange:
Dried Fruit:
Fig:
Malt:
Heather:
Leather:
Salt:
Tobacco:
Coffee:
Ham:
Banana:
Apple:
Berries:
Iodine:
Cake:
Mint:
Oil:
Raisin:
Almonds:
Grapefruit:
Floral:
Anis:
Dark Chocolate:
Clove:
Walnut:
Grass:
Hazelnut:
Tropical Fruit:
Black Currant:
Plum:
Pear:
Nuts:
Hay:
Medicinal Smoke:
Green Apple:
Alcohol:
Nutmeg:
Lemon Peel:
Lime:
Cinnamon:
Iodine:
Green Apple:
Barley:
Ginger:
Cherry:
Lemon Peel:
Chili:
Grapefruit:
Fig:
Almonds:
Blackberry:
Banana:
Pineapple:
Peach:
Walnut:
Cake:
Mint:
Coconut:
Melon:
Pepper:
Tobacco:
Oil:
Strawberry:
Grass:
Coffee:
Wheat:
Nutmeg:
Clove:
Black Currant:
Ginger:
Chili:
Grape:
Barley:
Hazelnut:
Melon:
Date:
Tasting
Peat Smoke:
Sweet:
Sherry:
Fruit:
Oak:
Spices:
Peat Smoke:
Chocolate:
Herb:
Sweet:
Caramel:
Maritime Notes:
Zitrus:
Nuts:
Dark Chocolate:
Seaweed:
Honey:
Sherry:
Vanilla:
Fruit:
Bonfire Smoke:
Malt:
Dried Fruit:
Salt:
Oak:
Herbs:
Berries:
Oil:
Chocolate:
Raisin:
Spices:
Pepper:
Maritime Notes:
Orange:
Herb:
Zitrus:
Honey:
Alcohol:
Heather:
Seaweed:
Caramel:
Leather:
Lemon:
Ham:
Chili:
Dark Chocolate:
Floral:
Coffee:
Medicinal Smoke:
Date:
Cinnamon:
Vanilla:
Malt:
Herbs:
Hazelnut:
Cherry:
Bonfire Smoke:
Blackberry:
Salt:
Tobacco:
Oil:
Iodine:
Tropical Fruit:
Plum:
Dried Fruit:
Berries:
Almonds:
Nuts:
Peach:
Ginger:
Pepper:
Heather:
Alcohol:
Barley:
Lemon:
Clove:
Floral:
Cake:
Pear:
Chili:
Orange:
Medicinal Smoke:
Apple:
Black Currant:
Ham:
Fig:
Raisin:
Iodine:
Grape:
Grapefruit:
Walnut:
Pineapple:
Cherry:
Lime:
Coffee:
Banana:
Grass:
Tobacco:
Kiwi:
Wheat:
Hay:
Pear:
Date:
Cinnamon:
Green Apple:
Leather:
Nutmeg:
Blackberry:
Hazelnut:
Plum:
Coconut:
Almonds:
Tropical Fruit:
Lemon Peel:
Walnut:
Grape:
Apple:
Peach:
Anis:
Clove:
Lime:
Hay:
Grass:
Ginger:
Cake:
Strawberry:
Red Currant:
Black Currant:
Nutmeg:
Mint:
Banana:
Barley:
Lemon Peel:
Melon:
Grapefruit:
Green Apple:
Pineapple:
Fig:
Coconut:
Wheat:
Finish
Peat Smoke:
Sweet:
Oak:
Sherry:
Spices:
Herb:
Peat Smoke:
Dark Chocolate:
Fruit:
Maritime Notes:
Chocolate:
Sweet:
Nuts:
Malt:
Oak:
Zitrus:
Seaweed:
Bonfire Smoke:
Salt:
Sherry:
Caramel:
Oil:
Herb:
Vanilla:
Coffee:
Spices:
Pepper:
Herbs:
Dried Fruit:
Dark Chocolate:
Honey:
Malt:
Chocolate:
Tobacco:
Maritime Notes:
Alcohol:
Fruit:
Chili:
Leather:
Cinnamon:
Lemon:
Heather:
Ham:
Salt:
Orange:
Oil:
Floral:
Nutmeg:
Berries:
Almonds:
Seaweed:
Cherry:
Raisin:
Honey:
Herbs:
Caramel:
Zitrus:
Bonfire Smoke:
Medicinal Smoke:
Tropical Fruit:
Vanilla:
Dried Fruit:
Pepper:
Alcohol:
Nuts:
Coffee:
Iodine:
Date:
Lime:
Floral:
Plum:
Cake:
Ham:
Heather:
Leather:
Blackberry:
Grape:
Walnut:
Chili:
Tobacco:
Clove:
Fig:
Ginger:
Apple:
Mint:
Grapefruit:
Cinnamon:
Cherry:
Black Currant:
Nutmeg:
Hazelnut:
Medicinal Smoke:
Pear:
Cake:
Hay:
Iodine:
Lemon Peel:
Lemon:
Tropical Fruit:
Red Currant:
Clove:
Peach:
Barley:
Banana:
Raisin:
Almonds:
Rye:
Hay:
Berries:
Mint:
Grass:
Fig:
Grapefruit:
Blackberry:
Date:
Wheat:
Plum:
Grape:
Pear:
Strawberry:
Anis:
Green Apple:
Orange:
Banana:
Hazelnut:
Apple:
Coconut:
Black Currant:
Details about the Distillery

The Whisky

Bowmore is a typical Islay Whisky. It shows a distinct peat smoke note and many sea and salt aromas. The basic character is the interplay of medium-strong smoke and fruity Oloroso Sherry casks.

There are a considerable number of distillery bottlings, ranging from Whiskies with no age statement to extremely high-quality old vintage bottlings. There are also some Whiskies that are fully or partially matured in Sherry casks, which harmonises very well with the peat smoke. There are also many independent bottlings of Bowmore. After giving up the production of their own blends, raw Whisky was given to independent bottlers for many years. Bowmore malts are also used in the 'Big-Peat', a blend of several Islay Whiskies. 

The distillery's standard range consists of 12-year-old, 15-year-old, 18-year-old and 25-year-old Bowmore.

The Production

Bowmore produces about 2 million litres of alcohol per year. They produce on two wash stills and two spirit stills and get their water from the river Laggan. The Bowmore distillery is one of the few distilleries that still have malting floors.

The Pot Stills

The two wash stills have a capacity of 30,940 litres each and are filled with 20,000 litres each. The distillation process in the wash still is relatively quick and at the end you get about 23 per cent alcohol, which is called intermediate. This is mixed with pre and post run of the last distillation in the spirit charger before it goes on to the spirit stills.

The two spirit stills can hold 14,250 litres each, and are both filled with 11,500 litres. The stills are all pear-shaped and not very tall. The lyne arm rises after the neck, which increases the backflow. Beyond that, there are no components that cause any particular reflux. All this leads to a smoky, spicy and intense distillery character.

The Malting

Bowmore still has active malting floors, where they spread out the steeped malt for germination. Afterwards they dry the malt over peat fire and this adds to the typical smoky peat flavour in the Bowmore Whisky.

The distillery sources its Scottish barley from wholesalers and produces about 25 per cent of the malt itself. For this purpose, the malt is soaked for 27 hours to increase the water content in the grain. The malt is then distributed onto the malting floors with so-called chariots. Here it rests for four to five days until the first sprouts are visible. It is important to control the temperature and to turn and aerate the malt regularly to prevent the formation of mould.

The peat used to dry the malt is nowadays cut with a special machine that closes the turf again after removal. This minimises the impact on the peat bog. Bowmore also tries to keep consumption low in order to save on the slowly renewable raw material. Smoking at Bowmore takes place for 10 hours over the kiln and you get malt with 25 to 30ppm. A heat exchanger is then used, which is operated with the waste heat from the stills.

The heat recovery system at Bowmore also heats the community swimming pool next to the distillery. This was converted from an old warehouse in the late 1980s and is owned by the community.

The Mashing

Bowmore operates a stainless steel Semi Lauter Tun which produces approximately 40,000 litres of mash.

The Fermentation

The distillery has seven washbacks made of Douglas fir with a capacity of 40,000 litres. Bowmore takes a middle course here with a semi-clear word. The different flavours range from grassy to fruity. The fermentation time of 70 hours brings out further fruity to tropical flavours.

The Warehouse

The warehouses at Bowmore are directly next to the Atlantic Ocean and give the Bowmore its saltiness and marine flavours. Most of the dunnages at Bowmore are very flat, so that the Scotch matures in a cold and humid environment. One of the warehouses the legendary No. 1 vault, is the only warehouse below sea level.

The distillery stores a large proportion of its production in Bourbon barrels, but also has a high proportion of European oak Sherry barrels (20 to 25 per cent).

The History

Bowmore was founded in 1779 by John P. Simpson. Like most of the other distilleries Bowmore was established as a farming distillery. He named the distillery 'Bowmore' which is Gaelic for great reef. After his death the distillery fell into the hand of a German family called Mutter in 1837. They changed the production to a more up to date process and also bought a steam ship to supply the distillery with imported barley and coal.

The distillery remained in the hands of the Germans until 1925, when they sold it to J.B. Sheriff and Co.

During World War II the distillery was closed and the RAF Costal Command resided in the buildings for the war against the submarines. In 1951 the Bowmore Morrison company was founded. Later in 1994 the Japanese company Suntory bought Bowmore and still owns them today.

The Visitor Centre

The Bowmore gift shop at the visitor centerThe visitor centre is open all over the year with varying hours. There are three different tours that are carried out by experts who have worked at the distillery for decades. It is very interesting to visit Bowmore, because they still produce parts of their Malt in the traditional style. You can also buy special distillery bottlings or stay at the Bowmore cottages right on the distillery grounds.

Visitor information

The Bowmore Distillery
Isle of Islay
Argyll PA43 7JS
Tel: +44 (0)1496 810 441
Fax: +44 (0)1496 810 757

E-Mail: mbd.bowmoredistillery@remove-this.beamsuntory.com 

 

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