The distillery passed through four owners before 1963, when it was bought by the Morrison family, who subsequently sold to the Japanese whisky company Suntory in 1994.
In 1779, local merchant David Simpson established Bowmore Distillery, one of the oldest distilleries on Islay.
Simpson moved to the new village of Bowmore from Killarow in 1766. He arrived into Bowmore at the same times as the village was expanding into what was to become the island's capital. While he was a farmer, a merchant, a postmaster and a sailor, his most memorable profession was as a whisky distiller.
The first distillery on Islay to receive a license, Bowmore was officially founded in 1779. It is likely, however, that Simpson had been distilling in Bowmore since shortly after his arrival on Islay. The distillery was later taken over by James Mutter, who was a farmer and distiller, as well as Ottoman, Portugese and Brazillian Vice-Consul in Glasgow.
Mutter considerably expanded the distillery and as the name Bowmore began to travel, demand for the whisky grew. The Mutter family kept the distillery until 1887, when it was sold to John Sheriff of Campbeltown and became the Bowmore Distilling Company.
In 1963 the distillery was acquired by Stanley P. Morrison, and while Morrison substantially rebuilt the distillery, he retained the original floor maltings and traditional whisky production methods.
Today the distillery is owned by Beam Suntory, having been owned in partnership between Beam Suntory for some years, before being purchased outright in 1994.
Character and Style of Bowmore
- Parma Violet
Whisky from Bowmore Distillery is known for its smoky, sea-salt and tropical fruits character, with a citrus edge and subtle sweetness cutting through the rich palate.
The most famous bottles released by Bowmore include the distillery's Bicentenary special-edition, released in 1979 and presented in a replica of the original Mutter bottles used by the Distillery. Another famous release from Bowmore is the Black Bowmore series; a collection of five sherry cask matured single malts that are almost black in colour and have become some of the most coveted whiskies ever released.
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