The Bowmore whisky distillery is historic. It is believed to have been established in 1779 and is the oldest on Islay, in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. Bowmore is actually the name of the administrative capital of the island and is where the name of the distillery is taken from.
During the Second World War, the distillery paused production and played host to the RAF Coastal Command. After several owners up until 1963, it was then that Stanley P. Morrison Ltd purchased the distillery, eventually creating the Morrison Bowmore company. This was in turn purchased by Suntory in 1994 who eventually became Beam Suntory as they are known today.
Bowmore remains one of a small number of Scotch whisky distilleries that still has its own maltings. There are three malt floors, but even these can’t keep up with the distillery’s demands, producing around third of what is needed. The remaining two thirds are purchased, mainly from the Scottish mainland. Fresh water for distilling is taken from the Laggan river.
Typical of Islay whisky, Bowmore is known for peat and smoke flavours, along with salty and marine notes thanks to its location next to the Atlantic Ocean. The legendary No. 1 Vault warehouse is actually the only warehouse below sea level.
Bowmore age of all their whiskies for a minimum of 9 years, most often in ex-American oak Bourbon barrels, but also in ex-Sherry casks, with various combinations being used. The 15 Year Old is part of the core range and spends 12 years in ex-Bourbon before a final 3 years in ex-Sherry.
This distillery has become known for partnering with other luxury brands on its release projects, recently most notably with Aston Martin and has been a leader in exceptionally packaged limited releases, as some of the below iconic bottlings demonstares.
Aston Martin and Bowmore have released a series of whiskies in recent years comprised of differing age statements. Arc-52, limited to just 100 of these stunning decanters really is something else. Master Blender Rob Welsh and his team selected just two cases of whisky that had been aged for 52 years, one Sherry butt and an ex-Bourbon American oak hogshead and blended them together in equal proportion to create what welsh has referred to as ‘the best Bowmore over 50 years old that I have ever tasted.’
One of the most famous sets of collectible whiskies ever produced. The set consists of the Bowmore Black, Bowmore White and Bowmore Gold.
The Bowmore Black 42 Year Old – 827 were produced the first release in the series back in 2007 and released at 42 years of age, from Oloroso Sherry casks.
Bowmore White 43 Year Old – 732 were produced and this was released in 2008 at 43 years of age, having matured in Bourbon casks.
Bowmore Gold 44 Year Old – the final release of 701 bottles, hit the market in 2009 at 44 years of age. It is matured in Oloroso and Bourbon casks.
The Black Bowmore Compendium
This series comprised of five releases. All are from 1964 of a 29 Year Old, 30 Year Old, 31 Year Old, 42 Year Old and 50 Year Old, with the first three releases in 1993, 1994 and 1995 and the final two in 2007 and 2016.
First edition released in 1993. Aged: 29 years. 2,000 bottles
Second edition released in 1994. Aged 30 years. 2,000 bottles
Third edition released in 1995. Aged 31 years. 1,812 bottles
Fourth edition released in 2007. Aged 42 years. 827 bottles
Fifth edition released in 2016. Aged 50 years. 159 bottles
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