Bowmore kiln & malthouse uploaded by Ben, 16. Feb 2015
Bowmore pot stills uploaded by Ben, 16. Feb 2015


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.

Details about the Distillery

The Whisky

Bowmore is a typical Islay whisky. It has a heavy peat smoke note and a lot of sea and salt aromas. The specialty about the Bowmore distillery character is the slight violet flower note. In some bottlings this note is hidden behind heavy sherry or wine aromas, but it is still there if you taste it carefully enough.


The distillery bottlings are quite extensive and range from no age whiskies like the Legend to ultra high-class old vintages like the Black Bowmore 1960. There is quite a number of whiskies with sherry maturation or some sherry casks vatted into the bottlings. This harmonizes very well with the peat smoke.


There is quite a number of independent bottlings from the Bowmore distillery. Buying an independent bottling from the Bowmore distillery gives you a real advantage. Most of the Bowmore distillery bottlings are artificially coloured to even out the colour between the batches. The independent bottlers don't have this problem so usually they don't colour artificially.

Bowmore delivers its spirit for the production of the "Big Peat", an all Islay blended malt whisky Scotch.

Some bottles of the Bowmore range.

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 view from the water.
The view from the seat to the Bowmore distillery

The Pot Stills

Bowmore has two wash stills with 20,000 litres of capacity and two spirit stills with 11,500 litres of capacity. The stills are all very pear shaped and not very tall. The lyne arm is rising after the neck and there are not pieces that increase the reflux. This all results in a rough, spicy and intense distillery character.

The pot stills of Bowmore.
The pot stills of the Bowmore distillery

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 malting floor of Bowmore
The malting floor of the Bowmore distillery

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 warehouse of the Bowmore distillery.
The warehouses of the Bowmore distillery


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. 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.