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geen leeftijd vermelding

40 %

Praetia, Prudentia Praestat
Morrison's Distillers
Stanley P. Morrison Ltd,
Springburn Bond,
Carlisle Street, Glasgow


11 years old

58,4 %            

Distilled October 1979
Bottled October 1990
William Cadenhead Ltd,
18 Golden Square, Aberdeen


12 years old

43 %              
Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd, Glasgow
Morrison's Bowmore Distillery, Islay


geen leeftijd vermelding

43 %
Bottled: 1967,
Matured in:
Sherry Casks in the oldest warehouse
at the Distillery dating back to 1779
Morrison's Bowmore Distillery, Islay


17 years old

43 %            
Morrison' Bowmore Distillery, Islay


geen leeftijd vermelding

40 %           
Morrison's Bowmore Distillery, Islay


10 years old

43 %             
Imported by:
Duggans Distillers Products Corp.
West Nyack, New York


14 years old

51,5 %            INFO
Date Distilled Jun 89
Date Bottled Jul 03
Society Cask code 3.81
Outturn 259 Bottles
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society,
The Vaults, Leith, Edinburgh
'Wine gums in the janitor's cupboard'


35 years old

41,7 %                 
A Unique Whisky of Distinction
Fons et Origo DTC
Cask Strenght
date distilled 02.1968
date bottled 02.2003
cask no. 1426
182 numbered bottles
Duncan Taylor & Co.


36 years old

42.0 %      INFO       
A Unique Whisky of Distinction
Fons et Origo DTC
Cask Strenght
date distilled 05.1966
date bottled 11.2002
cask no. 3311
158 numbered bottles
Duncan Taylor & Co.


13 years old

52,1 %            
Cask Strenght
Distilled June 1989
Bottled Mrach 2003
Cask 6130
Unchill filtered
200 bottles
Usquebach Society
Single Cask Scotch Whisky
Nederlandse Scotch Malt Vereniging


geen leeftijd vermelding

43 %            
DARKEST  (Old Bottling)
Sherry casked

From the No. I Vaults of Black Bowmore
Morrison's Bowmore Distillery, Islay


15 years old  

43 %             
Morrison Bowmore Distillers Limited,


21 years old

43 %
Distilled 1970
Bottled: 1991
specially selected from casks matured
in the oldest warehouse at the Distillery
dating back to 1779
Morrison's Bowmore Distillery, Islay


17 years old

52,9 %        INFO


Date distilled Apr 76
Date bottled Feb 94
Society Cask No. code 3.18
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society,
The Vaults, Leith, Edinburgh


geen leeftijd vermelding

56 %
Morrison's Bowmore Distillery, Islay


7 years old

43 %            
Distilled 05.02.88
Bottled 7.95
Cask No. 10
420 bottles
Van Wees, Holland


6 years old

43 %           
Distilled 3.4.89
Bottled 1.96
Cask no. 2870
442 bottles
Van Wees, Holland


21 years old

43 %                 
specially selected from casks matured
in the oldest warehouse at the Distillery
dating back to 1779
Morrison's Bowmore Distillery, Islay


25 years old

specially selected from casks matured
in the oldest warehouse at the Distillery
dating back to 1779
Morrison's Bowmore Distillery, Islay


9 years old

59,3 %
Date distilled May 89
Date bottled Sept 98
Society Cask No. code 3.48
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society,
The Vaults, Leith, Edinburgh


51,5 %                  INFO
Bottled: July 2001
Port Casked
Ruby Port Cask Finished
Morrison's Bowmore Distillery, Islay
Colour: Russet
Body: Full


22 years old

43 %            
Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd, Glasgow


35 years old

44 %            INFO   
Special Cask Strenght
Single Cask Bottling
Bottled at Natural Cask Strenght
Distilled May 1966
Bottled May 2001
192 bottles
No Chill Filtration
No Colouring
Douglas Laing & Co, Ltd, Glasgow



56%                    INFO
Bordeaux Wine Casked
Limited Edition
Genummerde flessen
Morrison's Bowmore Distillery, Islay


32 years old

45,5 %            INFO   
To Celebrate
The 50th Anniversary of the original
Stanley P. Morrison Company.
Selected by Brian Morrison
Matured in Bourbon barrels
Matured in
the famous Number One Vault at Bowmore
Limited Edition
1860 numbered bottles
Morrison's Bowmore Distillery, Islay



56 %           INFO
Port Casked
Limited Edition
12000 bottles (on allocation)
Morrison's Bowmore Distillery, Islay
Specification details:
Finished in Ruby Port pipes for almost 2 years
Launch date: June 2000



50%                INFO
Bordeaux Wine Casked
Claret Casked

Morrison's Bowmore Distillery, Islay
Specification details:
Mainstream version of
Bowmore Claret (Limited Edition
launched in 1999)

Finished in Claret, Bordeaux Red Wine Casks for
amost 2 years
Bottled at 50 % alcoholic volume


12 years old

46 %           INFO
The Legendary Scotch Rare Aged
Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Date distilled 1989
Date bottled 2001
No chill filtering No colouring
Whisky Galore Ltd, Huntly, Aberdeenshire

BOWMORE    10 years old  43 %            
Distilled 6/5/92
Bottled 11/9/2002
Cask no. 2216
Genummerde flessen
The Ultimate Whisky Company, N.L.


10 years old

46 %            
Distilled 6/4/95
Bottled 27/6/05
Matured  in a Whisky-hog
Cask no.   796
Numbered Bottles
Natural Colour
Non Chillfiltered
The Ultimate Whisky Company, N.L.


12 years old

40 %          INFO     
Bottled: 200
Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Exclusive to travel retail
Morrison's Bowmore Distillery, Islay


Aged 15 years

43 %                                            
Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
THE  ORIGINAL  Islay 1779 Malt
Bowmore Distillery, Islay



40 %  
Handcrafted on Islay since 1779
Bowmore Distillery, Islay


Aged  10 years  

55.3 % INFO
Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Batch No. 1
Cask Type: First Fill Bourbon
Bottled 2009
Bowmore Distillery, Bowmore, Islay


Aged  21 years  

51.5 %
VINTAGE   1 9 8 8

Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Specially Hand Selected Port Pipes
Limited Release
Distilled  10TH  March 1988
Seven Port Pipes = 7200 bottles
Natural Cask Strenght
Non Chill Filtering
Bowmore Distillery, Bowmore, Isle of Islay



27 years old

49,6 %   INFO
The   OCTAVE   cask   from Duncan  Taylor
single malt scotch whisky distilled at Bowmore
Region: Islay
Distilled in 1982
Cask no. 371674
Bottled in 2010
Total bottles 70
Duncan Taylor & Co, Huntly.


Aged  8 years  

40 %  INFO
Morrison's Bowmore Distillery, Islay

590 Bottles
Distilled: December 1999
Cask Type: First Fill Bourbon Barrel
Cask No: 32813, 32814
Bottled: August 2011
Gordon & Macphail, Elgin
BOWMORE  ( 1779 -
Uitgebracht  Januari 2013:


54,9 % INFO                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Non Chill - Filtered                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Bowmore Distiillery, Bowmore , Islay

VINTAGE  2 0 0 1
12 years old  

46 %                            
Islay Single Malt
Distilled: 08/05/01
Matured in a Hogshead
Cask no: 704
Bottled :05/11/13
338 Numbered Bottles
Natural Colour
Non Chillfiltration
Selected by The Ultimate Whisky Company.NL

2 0 0 2
11 years old

46 %                        
Islay Single malt
Distilled: 02/10/02
Matured in a Hogshead
Cask No: 2189
Bottled: 10/03/14
364 Bottles
Natural Colour
Non Chillfiltered
Selected by The Ultimate Whisky Company.NL


Bowmore, Islay, Argyll. Licentiehouder: Morrison's Bowmore Distillery Ltd. Eigendom van Suntory.
De eerste geschreven huurovereenkomst van Bowmore dateert van 1766 toen Daniel Campbell de Jongere, landeigenaar op Islay, de overeenkomst maakte met David Simson, zowel boer, koopman en distillateur te Killarow nu Bridgend, wat noordelijker dan Bowmore gelegen aan Loch Indaal.
Daniel Campbell de Jongere had besloten het sociale en economische centrum te verplaatsen van Killarow naar Bowmore.
De overeenkomst betrof een stuk grond en stukken moerasland, alsmede grond aan de Hill Street en Shore Street.
In 1776 verkreeg Simson toestemming om stenen te delven, turf te steken en huizen te bouwen.
In de periode tussen 1766 en 1776 was hij directeur van de posterijen op Islay, en weer in 1790. Ook was hij directeur van de Islay Packet, die een bootdienst onderhield tussen Tarbert in Argyll en Port Askaig op Islay.
Ook was hij korte tijd actief als distillateur op Jura, maar in de wintermaanden was dit een probleem, en hij hield hier mee op.
Hij werd geholpen door de landheer Daniel Campbell, die hem gerst leverde op krediet,
en moest pas betalen als de whisky in Glasgow was verkocht.

In 1837 werd Bowmore verkocht aan William en James Mutter, kooplieden, van Duitse afkomst te Glasgow, die de distilleerderij vernieuwden en vergrootten.
James Mutter was een filantroop en progressieve boer,
hij bezat ook drie boerderijen op Islay en was ook Turks- Portugees- en Braziliaans Vice - Consul te Glasgow.
De Mutters lieten ook de bedding van de rivier de Laggan veranderen om een groter verschil in het verloop van de rivier te verkrijgen. Een eigen stoomschip, de S.S. Mutter, van 145 ton, voer tussen Islay en Glasgow, waar de Mutters lagerpakhuizen bezaten.

Toen Barnard in 1887 Bowmore bezocht werd er 908.000 liter spirit geproduceerd, alleen Ardbeg produceerde meer spirit per jaar op Islay.
Bowmore werd geexporteerd en had verkopers die Engeland en Schotland bereisden . De zonen van de gebroeders Mutter leidden de distilleerderij tot 1892, toen Bowmore werd verkocht aan een consortium te Londen. De naam van de onderneming werd toen The Bowmore Distillery Company.

In 1925 kocht J.B. Sherriff ' Co Bowmore voor € 20.000.
Deze onderneming was gevormd in 1895 om Lochead distilleerderij te Campbeltown, Lochin-daal te Port Charlotte op Islay, en suikerrietplantages en een rumdistilleerderij op Jamaica over te nemen. In 1920 moest J.B. Sherriff & Co in liquidatie gaan en Lochead en Lochindaal werden over-genomen door Benmore Distilleries. Lochead werd gesloten in 1928.

Benmore Distilleries werd overgenomen door Distillers Company Ltd, (D.C.L) in 1929 en Lochindaal werd in datzelfde jaar gesloten.

Na te zijn geluiquideerd werd J.B. Sherriff & Co, Ltd gekocht door J.P. O'Brien Ltd, precies één dag nadat deze onderneming had besloten zelf in liquidatie te gaan.
Een maand eerder had J.P. O'Brien Ltd, Bulloch Lade & Co, eigenaars van Caol Ila overgenomen .

Bulloch Lade & Co waren grote whiskyhandelaren en blenders in die tijd met belangen in behalve Caol Ila, ook in Lossit, op Islay, Camlachie, later Loch Katrine genaamd, te Glasgow en Benmore te Campbeltown.
Bulloch Lade & Co, waren net als zoveel anderen in die tijd in moeilijkheden geraakt.

Veel bedrijven werden toen of geliquideerd of overgenomen, en dat vaak tegen bodemprijzen.

De handelsnaam en goodwill van Sherriff werden gekocht voor € 100 in aandelen door Duncan MacLeod te Keabost op Skye, hij was eerder directeur geweest van Bulloch Lade en van de Highland Bonding Company.
Een nieuwe onderneming werd gevormd, ook met de naam J.B. Sherriff, in December 1924, en Bowmore ging verder met de naam Sherriff's Bowmore Distillery Ltd.

Gedurende de tweede wereldoorlog was Bowmore gesloten en herbergde een afdeling van het Coastal Command, dat anti duikboot assistentie gaf aan Atlantische konvooien.

In 1950 werd Bowmore overgenomen door William Grigor & Son Ltd te Inverness, die ook in 1884 Glen Albyn had herbouwd.

In 1960 ging het slecht met de distilleerderij, Grigor was gestorven, zijn weduwe beheerde de bedrijven, maar de reputatie was slecht van de whisky van Bowmore, de kwaliteit van het gedistilleerd was heel wisselvallig, en men had slechts één afnemer overgehouden toen: Robertson & Baxter.
In het seizoen 1962 / 63 werd slechts 62.000 gallon whisky geproduceerd.

In 1963 luisterde Stanley P. Morrison een gesprek af tijdens een lunch in Rogano's Restaurant te Glasgow.
Hij vernam dat Bowmore waarschijnlijk werd verkocht aan aan Spaans bedrijf.
Onmiddelijk nam hij contact op met de weduwe van William Grigor te Inverness nog dezelfde middag werd Bowmore gekocht.

Bowmore ging voor € 117.000 over in de handen van Stanley P. Morrison, en voor Roseburn Bonding Company, met Bonded Warehouses in Glasgow werd € 83.000 betaald.
Stanley P. Morrison werd deelgenoot in William Walker & Company in 1925. William Walker & Company was toen één van de belangrijkste whisky makelaars. Stanley P. Morrison verliet William Walker & Company in 1932 en ging in 1932 een compagnonschap aan met Robert Lundie.
In 1935 begon hij geheel voor zichzelf wat later geholpen door zijn zoons Tim en Brian.
De firma had grote klanten als Robertson & Baxter, Beli's, de Distillers Company Ltd, Teachers en anderen.

In 1936 kocht Stanley P. Morrison Ltd Chivas Brothers en verkochten de voorraad whisky nog in hetzelfde jaar.
In 1948 werd Chivas Brothers verkocht aan Seagram.

In 1968 werd de gehele voorraad whisky gekocht van Bass Charrington voor € 3,6 miljoen.

In de zomer van 1963 werd Bowmore verbouwd, nieuwe stills, een nieuwe mashtun en washbacks werden geinstalleerd.

In 1964 werd Stanley P. Morrison verkoop agent voor het Verenigd Koninrijk van Invergordon Grain Distillery en daardoor mede verantwoordelijk voor de omschakeling van Invergordon van buikproducent naar merkatiklen leverancier.

In 1964 werd tijdens een zakenreis naar Japan kontakt gelegd met Mitsui Busan, de firma die Schotse whisky inkocht voor gebruik in de produkten van zowel Nikka als Suntory.

In 1963 werd contact gezocht met de Distillers Company Ltd, de D.C.L. om een stilgelegde distilleerderij te kopen.
In 1968 werden de whiskyvoorraden gekocht van de Bass Charrington groep voor € 3,6 miljoen.
Dit werd Glen Garioch, dat werd verkocht omdat er niet voldoende water beschikbaar was. Met behulp van een helderziende werden nieuwe bronnen opgespoord.
In de jaren zeventig werden Bowmore en Glen Garioch voor het eerst als single malt whiskies gepromoot.

In 1984 werd Auchentoshan gekocht.

In 1988 werd de firmanaam Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd.
In 1989 verwierf Suntory 35 % van de aandelen.
Suntory was toen al in het bezit van een pakket aandelen in Macallan.
Sinds 1994 is Suntory de alleen eigenaar van Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd.

De vier met stoom gestookte ketels van Bowmore kunnen ruim 2 miljoen liter spirit per jaar prodiceren.
De meeste mout komt van Port Ellen, maar Bowmore mout zelf 35 % van de gebruikte mout.
Het water komt van de rivier Laggan.
De Mashtun is 8 ton
De zes washbacks zijn elk 40.000 liter groot.
De twee wash stills zijn elk 20.000 liter, de twee spirit stills elk 11.500 liter, ze worden met stoom verhit.
Manager is (2003) Ian McPherson.
Smoky, de poes van Bowmore sterf
t te Bowmore op 10 Augustus 2002. In de drie lagerpakhuizen von Bowmore rijpen 27000 vaten mit whisky.
September 2007
Er wordt een nieuwe Black Bowmore uitgebracht (de vierde). De verkoopprijs wordt vastgesteld op 2000 engelse ponden.
Begin volgend jaar, in 2008 komen er nog een Red Bowmore en een White Bowmore uit.

Distillery operating hours: 5 ½  days a week, 24 hours a day
Number of emplyees: 18
Water source: River Laggan
Water reserve: variable
Water colour: brown
Peat content of water: trace
Malt source: around 40 per cent own malt (1.700 tonnes in
2003)  with balance from other maltsters including Port Ellen  
Own floor maltings: yes
Malt type: Optic
Malt specification phenols: average 25 ppm
Finished spirit phenols: average 8-10 ppm
Malt storage: 180 tonnes
Mill type: Porteus, installed 1960s
Grist storage: 8 tonnes
Mash tun contruction: stainless steel, semi-Lauter
Mash size: 8 tonnes
First water: 27.000 litres at 84o C
Second water: 13.000 litres at 90o C
Third water: 27.000 litres at lOOo C
Number of washbacks: 6
Washback construction: Oregon pine
Washback charge: 40.000 litres
Yeast:  Mauri and Quest cultered yeasts (75/25)
Amount of yeast: 100 kg per washback
Lenght of fermentation:48 hours (shorts:week); 62 hours (longs:
Initial fermentation temperature: 19o C
Strenght of wash: 7 per cent abv
Number of wash stills:  2
Wash stills built: not known
Wash still capacity: 30.940 litres
Wash still charge: 20.000 litres (65 per cent of capacity)
Heat source: steam coils and pans
Wash still height: 20 feet 8 inches (6.3 m)
Wash still shape:  plain
Lyne arm: straight
Lenght of low-wines run:  c. 8 hou

Low-wines collection range: 46 per cent abv - 1 per cent abv
Number of spirit stills: 2
Spirit stills built: no 1: 1986; no 2: not known
Spirit still capacity: no 1: 14.750 litres; no 2: 14.637 litres
Spirit still charge:  c. 13.500 litres (92 per cent of capacity)
Strenght of spirit still charge: c. 27 per cent abv
Heat source:  steam coils and pans
Spirit still height:  19 feet (5.8 m)
Spirit still shape:  plain
Lyne arm: no 1: rises about lOo; no 2 rises about 5o
Purifier: no
Condensers: three internally sited, one externally sited;
 lenght 15 feet 1 inch (4.6 m) to 16 feet 5 inches  (5 m), containing between 176 and 218 l\ inch  (32 mm ) copper tubes; all condensers bipartite
  (one half cool, one half hot)
Lenght of foreshot ru:  15 minutes
Lenght of spirit run: 2.5 to 3 hours
Lenght of feints run:3.5 to 4 hours
Spirit cut: 74 per cent abv - 61.5 per cent abv
Distilling strenght: 68.8 per cent abv average
Storage strenght:  63.5 per cent abv
Average spirit yield: 408 litres of pure alcohol per tonne of malt (2003)
Disposal of pot ale and spent lees: pot ale to Caol Ila, then dispersed in Sound of
 Islay; spent lees to sewer
Type of casks filled for branded malt: 71 per cent first-fill American oak
remade hogsheads; 14 per cent first-fill sherry butts and puncheons
Current annual output:  1.7 million litres of pure alcohol
Number of warehouses  1 at distillery (numbered 1); 2 outside town on
Low Road (numbered 5 and 6)
Type of warehouses: dunnage (1 and 5); racked (6)
Storage capacity on Islay:  27.000 casks
Percentage of branded malt entirely
aged on Islay: 100 %
Vatting and bottling location: Springburn (Glasgow)  
Distillery expressions: Legend (no age stated; circa 8 years old),
Cask Strenght (no age stated) 12- year old , Mariner (15- year old) , 17- year old , Aged 24 years ,Aged 30 years,   Darkest (sherry-casked), Dawn (port-casked), Dusk (Bordeaux-casked), Surf (duty-free) and special vintage dated releases

Major blending roles:  Black Bottle, Rob Roy, Islay Hallmark

In 1997 kocht Euan Shand de merken Glendarroch en Whisky Galore.
Euan Shand werd koper van de whiskyvoorraad en Duncan Taylor & Co. Deze voorraad bestaat uit ongeveer 4000 vaten whisky, deels inmiddels heel oud en bijzonder. Macallen, Bowmore, Glen Grant en St. Magdalene, Laphroaig en Bunnahabhain uit 1966, gelagerd in Cognac en Sherryvaten.

September 2009

After the "White", followed by the "Black" the "Gold" Bowmore is released as a 44 years
old single malt whisky and 42.4 %

There are 701 bottles and comes from the number one vaults at Bowmore and is matured in 3
Bourbon casks and 1 Oloroso sherry butt and then married together

Bowmore Beaufort Scale:

Smokiness  -  Complexity  -  Batch  No. 1

Moderate breeze, fresh breeze, strong breeze, near gale, gale, strong gale, storm, violet storm.

For then years these first Bourbon casks have lain in our vaults just inches from the battering
waves of Loch Indaal, the result is a whisky bright summer gold in colour.

The nose is engulfed by earthy smoke and a sea salt brine. A little water brings out noted of
Crême Brûlée with orange blossom and butter cream.

At first on the palate is a surprising little burst of citrus some lemons and orange, then comes
the distinct peaty character of Islay, with a taste of the neighbouring sea. The citrus returns
at the end adding balance and complexity to the mouthfeel. The finish is long lingering yet
clean,. Sit back and enjoy this Bowmore Islay Tempest.

This is the first in a series of small batch releases from the Bowmore vaults bringing you a
taste of our weather beaten distillery on Islay.

July 2012

Morrison Bowmore has released the 1964 and 1985 Vintages.

Bowmore Vintage 1964:   72 bottles are available at 42,9 %   at 8000 pound
Bowmore Vintage 1985: 747 bottles are available at 52,3 %   at   300 pound

Each bottle is made from hand -  blown glass by the glass artists Brodie Nairn
and  Nichola Burns

September 2012

Morrison Bowmore has released the oldest ever Bowmore whisky, 1957 and 54 years old.
Distilled in 1957, matured in Vaults No. 1 from Bowmore and  bottled in 2011,
12 bottles are available to the global markets.
It is also the oldest Islay Single Malt  ever bottled.
The price: 100.000 pound a bottle.

Distilled during the Springtide when the earth, sun and moon are all aligned, and matured in
the finest oolroso  sherry casks, Bowmore Springtide is intensely powerful yet beautifully

When power combine…..

Just as the tides are governed by the moon, Islay is ruled by the elements. Bowmore Springtide
shows what can be achieved when the two come together.

The highest tide of all, caused by the orbital alignment of the earth, sun and moon, the springtide
has a special significance for Bowmore if there were ever a time for our legendary No. 1 Vaults
below sea level to be engulfed by the ocean, this would be it. Yet somehow the maturation ware -
house remains.

Matured in sherry casks
Behind the Vaults' thick stone walls, bowmore's precious spirit is poured into the finest and secondl fill

Oloroso sherry butts. Over the years, these contribute a wonderful richness and deep colour.
It 's as though the contents of the casks have absorbed some of the powerful energies outside

Distilled during the Springtide when the earth, sun and moon are all aligned, and matured in
the finest oolroso  sherry casks, Bowmore Springtide is intensely powerful yet beautifully

When power combine…..
Just as the tides are governed by the moon, Islay is ruled by the elements. Bowmore Springtide
shows what can be achieved when the two come together.

The highest tide of all, caused by the orbital alignment of the earth, sun and moon, the springtide
has a special significance for Bowmore if there were ever a time for our legendary No. 1 Vaults
below sea level to be engulfed by the ocean, this would be it. Yet somehow the maturation ware -
house remains.

Matured in sherry casks
Behind the Vaults' thick stone walls, bowmore's precious spirit is poured into the finest and secondl fill Oloroso sherry butts. Over the years, these contribute a wonderful richness and deep colour.
It 's as though the contents of the casks have absorbed some of the powerful energies outside.

Its smoke, reminiscent of beach bonfires, mingles with a distinctly saline note, flowers, cereal, citrus and underneath a touch of tropical fruit. It is this character which, when matured in refill casks for a long period of time, becomes the primary aroma, the peat seemingly disappearing completely.

A significant percentage of the make is aged in ex-Sherry butts which take Bowmore off in another direction – one of dark fruits, chocolate, coffee, citrus and smoke. The extensive range picks and chooses between these extremes. A significant percentage of the distillery’s whisky is matured on the island, with the distillery’s No.1 Vaults being held to have the most extraordinary microclimate. This chill, damp environment – the vault is below the level of Loch Indaal and one wall makes up the town’s sea wall – is seen as ideal for long-term maturation.

There are claims that Bowmore’s distillery started operation in 1779, but there’s no evidence of whisky being made until a certain John Simpson took out a licence in 1816. It wouldn’t be until 1837 when the Glasgow blending firm, Wm & Jas. Mutter took over that it began to gain traction and reputation. In 1841, Windsor Castle requested a cask of Bowmore – this being a time when the English palate was considered too delicate (or Scotch too bold). As often happens, the distillery passed through a number of hands before in this case it was bought, in 1963, by broker Stanley P. Morrison. The Morrison era saw the start of what is recognised as a legendary period in Bowmore’s history – its mid-1960s bottlings are legendary.

The distillery was substantially modernised with an innovative heat recovery system not only cutting down on fuel bills but creating sufficient excess hot water to heat the town’s swimming pool. In 1989 the Japanese distiller Suntory bought stake in the distillery and took full control in 1994, the year after the ground-breaking Black Bowmore was launched. This 100% Sherry-aged release was sold for what at the time was seen as the ludicrously inflated price of £100.

In 2014 Suntory bought Jim Beam which, from an Islay perspective, sees two of Islay’s most iconic single malts (Bowmore and Laphroaig) under the same ownership.

Bowmore supposedly begins distilling, although the date is contested
John Simpson applies for a license to distil at Bowmore
Glaswegian blending firm Wm & Jas Mutter buy the distillery
Windsor Castle orders a cask of Bowmore
Stanley P. Morrison acquires the distillery
Japanese drinks group Suntory buy a stake in the distillery
Suntory takes full control of Bowmore
Black Bowmore, a 100% sherry-aged whisky, is launched
Suntory acquires Beam, and along with it a second Islay distillery in the shape of Laphroaig

Shell and tube
Minimum 48hrs
Steam from oil boiler
Simpson's in Berwick-upon-Tweed
Semi Lauter
4 (2 wash, 2 spirit)
Two dunnage and one racked
River Laggan
25kg Kerry, 75kg Mauri

Beam Suntory
2014 - present

Morrison Bowmore Distillers

Suntory Holdings
1994 - 2014
Morrison Bowmore Distillers
1987 - 1994
Stanley P Morrison
1963 - 1987
William Grigor & Sons
1950 - 1963
JB Sheriff & Co
1925 - 1950
Joseph Robert Holmes
1892 - 1925
William & Jas Mutter
1837 - 1890
John Simpson
1826 - 1837
John Johnston
1825 - 1826
John Simpson
1816 - 1818


Black Bowmore whisky
Black Bowmore: Behold, the complete collection of all five whiskies
Black Bowmore wasn’t the first expensive whisky; it wasn’t the first from first-fill Sherry casks (some say oloroso, others Williams & Humbert Walnut Brown, a sweet oloroso or cream Sherry); it wasn’t even the inaugural Bowmore or first single malt from Islay. Why then has it acquired and retained cult status? What was it about this batch of first-fill ex-Sherry casks filled on 5 November 1964?

Quality, undoubtedly. Anyone who has been lucky enough to try any of the five releases will be able to attest to their remarkable alignment of concentration and fragrance, intensity and subtlety, smoke and fruit. Many have claimed it to be the greatest whisky experience of their lives.

That doesn’t fully explain it, however. There have been plenty of other extraordinary single malts released since Black Bowmore first emerged. So maybe it was quality and timing: the manner in which its release dovetailed with the emergence of single malt whisky as a category, and the nascent collectible market.

The former was known, but the latter was unexplored territory, making this a bold move by the distiller when, in 1993, it released 2,000 bottles of Black Bowmore 29-year-old. It cost between £80 and £110 a bottle.

We may laugh at the price now, but this was hugely expensive for a single malt in those days. As Nick Blacknell, who was head of whisky buying for Oddbins at the time, recalls: ‘We were the first to list it in the early ’90s at £110 a bottle – which seemed a fabulous price at the time. Despite it being the most expensive malt we stocked, it still sold out within a matter of weeks.’

In 1993, single malt had yet to fully establish itself as anything other than a quirky speciality. Black Bowmore represented a building of momentum, suggested that the single malt drinker was, perhaps, someone who looked at the drink in a slightly different fashion.

It was also the start of the Islay boom; that turning of the perceived understanding of malt drinkers’ behaviour on its head – most start and stay with light styles, only a few mad souls head to the smoke-filled monsters of the west. It also tapped into a growing love of Sherry-casked whisky. Black Bowmore’s release suggested that there could be another dimension to malt.

‘Islay boom’: The popularity of Islay whiskies was growing when Black Bowmore first launched

It worked sufficiently well for another 2,000 bottles of a 30-year-old to come out in 1994, then a further 1,182 of a 31-year-old in 1995. Each time, the legend grew a little more. The price rose, but only slightly, with £90 the lowest asked for the Second Edition, while the Third Edition went over the £100 mark with prices between £100 and £150.

As Thierry Bénitah, CEO of La Maison du Whisky, said recently, whiskies were undervalued at the time. Drinkers appreciated their quality, but naively thought that the steady flow of fantastic bottlings would never stop, that prices would never rise, that these were gifts from a grateful industry to impecunious seekers after flavour. With hindsight, how could anyone believe that any business would continue to sell its rarest products at bargain prices?

When the fourth release, a 42-year-old, came out in 2007 as part of a trilogy alongside White and Gold, everything had changed. This batch contained 827 bottles and the price had risen to £2,400.

Scotch, that apparently uncouth, hairy-arsed spirit from the north, was now planting its muddy boots on the banqueting table, long exclusively occupied by Cognac and fine wine. The industry had sharpened up and seen that it couldn’t and shouldn’t give away its most prized offerings. Luxury had become the new buzz word and, if Château Pétrus could do it, then why couldn’t whisky? It, too, was rare, precious and, in Black Bowmore’s case, had sat in cask for a huge length of time.

It is fascinating to look back on contemporaneous reviews and comments at the time of the 42-year-old’s release. While there are some who complained about the hike in price, there is a surprisingly large number of people who are accepting of the move, pointing out that there are bars offering it for sale, and whisky clubs getting together to buy a bottle and sharing it.

Even writers who are now trenchant critics of high-priced whisky start by struggling with the price, but then taste the whisky, look at the competitive set on-shelf and at auction, then say with a sigh: ‘Yes, the price is justified by the rarity and quality.’

Whisky auctions had by now started and, while the word ‘investment’ was beginning to appear in reports and comments, its use was infrequent. In 2007, it would seem, whisky was still more about the drinking – even at this rarefied level.

Something else had changed, however. Now knowledge had deepened; old wasn’t necessarily viewed as good; wood was both an aid and a potential enemy. Additionally, there was a deeper understanding of specificity. The first three releases were about the Sherry, about the blackness. Now it was more about Bowmore.

Yes, the quality of the wood was vital, but that understanding was now balanced by the skill of the men in the malt barns and distillery, while the whisky’s most mysterious element – the location of the casks – was being given equal billing.

If you look at Black Bowmore as fiction, you see it grow from being a simple tale about a product into something which acquires the trappings of legend and myth. What was once ‘Islay’ had been condensed into distilleries; distilleries compressed into specific peculiarities – in Black Bowmore’s case, the magical, never fully explicable weirdness of the conditions in No 1 Vaults, one of walls of which sits below the level of the loch outside; a place of cold and damp, where evaporation is minimal, where elements are both preserved and warped into new shapes, where time slows and things deepen.

The fourth release confounded widely accepted truths: you can’t keep whisky that long, and you certainly can’t keep it that long in first-fill ex-Sherry. Its quality showed how sometimes, when the cards fall in the right way, cask, spirit and conditions harmonise in a remarkable fashion.

No 1 Vaults: The Black Bowmore range was aged in the distillery’s mysterious warehouse

Five years later, the luxury segment took off properly and prices headed ever upward. Not that it seemed likely that Black Bowmore would ever play in that realm. Or would it? Hadn’t the 1995 release called itself the ‘Final Edition’, only for another to appear? Even so, it seemed unlikely, which made last week’s launch of the Fifth Edition all the more surprising.

Like the prior quartet, this newest release reflects how the market has shifted. Black Bowmore is now 50 years old. There’s only 159 bottles left and they cost £16,000 each. In addition, the packaging has utterly changed.

The first three editions were in plain bottles and simple wooden boxes. While the box for the fourth was slightly more expensive-looking, the bottle remained simple. The modesty of the presentation reflected the importance of the liquid. For the Fifth Edition, however, the glass is sculpted, hand-blown and polished, and a cabinet maker has been commissioned to make the presentation case, each one of which takes 70 hours to craft and uses 80 different hand skills.

Is it another whisky designed to be a rich man’s plaything? A triumph of bling over substance? Undoubtedly, some whiskies fall into that trap, but that can’t be said to be the case here. Yes, ultimately the liquid is what matters, but rare whisky is no longer the little-known, specialist world it was in the ’90s. The whisky is still extraordinary – now what contains and holds it has to be equally so.

This area of whisky has moved into uncharted territory. What it leaves in its wake, however, is an increasingly polarised reaction with regard to price. Gone is the glee and amused bafflement which greeted the cost of the first three editions, the resigned acceptance of the fourth. Now, anything with a high price tag is castigated.

Black Bowmore has always existed at an extreme: in flavour, in age and in price (even when it was under £100). The reaction to each element has evolved over these past 23 years. The saga of Black Bowmore is that of quality, concentration, place, craft, the market and our response to what whisky is, and what it means – a tale as complex as the dram itself.

BOWMORE 1966 ON SALE FOR £20,000
November 2017
Islay distillery Bowmore has unveiled a 50-year-old single malt, Bowmore 1966, which is set to retail for £20,000 (€21,000/US$25,500) a bottle.

Scottish oak: Each hand-carved cabinet will have its own unique look
Only 74 bottles of Bowmore 1966, which spent 50 years in a single ex-Bourbon hogshead, cask number 5675, will be available at whisky specialists from this December.

The whisky was distilled in the same year that the Islay distillery first officially bottled Bowmore as a single malt, and it also marks the year that former Bowmore manager Eddie MacAffer joined the distillery.

It is said to have ‘unlocked the exotic fruit tastes distinctive of 1960s Bowmore whiskies’, including flavours of lychee, pineapple and watermelon, as well as light floral notes.

Bowmore 1966 is packaged in a handmade crystal decanter, with sterling silver decoration, housed in a Scottish oak cabinet containing five silver tree rings depicting the five decades of the single malt’s maturation.

‘To this day Eddie MacAffer is renowned at the Bowmore distillery for his passion and knowledge, which he so proudly showcased throughout his 50 years at the distillery,’ said David Turner, Bowmore distillery manager.

‘I am honoured to celebrate such a pivotal year in Bowmore’s history and launch this incredible whisky, which was not only nurtured by Eddie himself, but was also discovered the very year Eddie joined us.’

March 2018
There are certain ‘rules’ when it comes to storing whisky, but what happens to the liquid if you ignore them? A group of whisky enthusiasts conducted an experiment to find out.  

Bowmore Laimrig Batch 3
Reference point: Bowmore Laimrig Batch 3 was subjected to cruel and unusual treatment
Whisky should be stored lower than room temperature, in darkness, and with the bottles standing up. Opened bottles should not be left with lots of air in them for too long. If not, you run the risk of the whisky being affected in negative ways.

This is the received wisdom. But what happens if you store whisky differently? Swedish whisky enthusiast Mattias Klasson decided to find out. He exposed bottles of peated Islay whisky – Bowmore Laimrig, Batch 3 – to what most whisky lovers would consider cruel and unusual punishment.

One sample bottle was left in his freezer, at a temperature of -18C. One bottle was left outside, with maximum exposure to sunlight and the changing temperatures of the climate.

Klasson duct-taped a third bottle to the back of a warm machine which was constantly switched on, with temperatures in the bottle held at about 45C. Yet another bottle was exposed to uneven temperatures, with the liquid reaching above 40C twice a day.

A fifth measure of whisky was poured into two cheap PET plastic bottles. To complete the experiment, Klasson left one 70cl bottle with 10cl of whisky in it; another, he kept half-filled. Finally, he kept a reference whisky, unopened and stored under optimal conditions.

The bottles in place, it was now time to wait. And so he waited, for two full years. The whiskies – the plural form is definitely needed – were then all tested independently and blind by a panel of six experts. So is it really that important to store whisky correctly, and how are flavours affected by different ways of storing?

Bowmore storage experiment sample bottles

A world of difference: There were some glaring variations between the different whiskies

The answer is yes, it matters a great deal and, indeed, the flavours are affected in different ways. The whiskies were indeed deemed to be quite different from each other.

Most of the whiskies had been weakened. The panellists had to really work with them in order to properly describe them, with the nose plunged deep into the tasting glass.

Two of the panellists found only small differences between the reference whisky on the one hand, and the two whiskies which had been oxidised, as well as the whisky which had been stored under warm conditions, on the other. The other four found more differences, favouring the reference whisky over the others.

Differences were more marked with the other whiskies.

To start at the bottom: the bottle that had been left outside, exposed to a maximum amount of sunlight and the weather. Its colour had turned to pale white wine.

On the nose, panellists found notes of bad grappa, glue and slightly rotting lemon; even gasoline and dirty laundry were mentioned. On the palate, a terrible bitterness, warm plastic and strange, aggressive spices.

All panellists concurred that this whisky was basically undrinkable. On the never-ending finish, described as ‘especially repulsive’ by one panellist, there was burnt plastic, fiery spices and soap.

This whisky had zero similarity to the reference: no Sherry cask influence, no peat, no smoke, no Bowmore. One of the panellists used the 100-point scale, and gave this whisky a scathing 20 points. Another concluded with the words: ‘What a disaster.’

We no longer need to ask ourselves if whisky is affected by extreme amounts of sunlight and the climate: this abomination was unrecognisable as whisky.

Blind tasting: Some of the results were predictable, but others were more surprising

At the other end of the scale, the half-full bottle and the one kept in the freezer were deemed to have been affected negatively, but only slightly. Again, some panellists claimed the differences to the reference were marginal, while others were more critical. The whiskies had minor flaws, and were subdued both on the nose and on the palate.

The bottle which only had 10cl of whisky in it had oxidised too much, and was, to most, but a shadow of its former glory.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the whisky stored under very warm conditions. You might have thought that this would surely destroy the whisky. However, panellists deemed it to be one of the best of the group (excluding the reference whisky).

It was decidedly sweeter and heavier on the oak, and it had lost some of its fruitiness. In all, though, still a good whisky. A few panellists found it older than its 15 years, with the oak being a little too dominant.

Interestingly, the whisky which had been exposed to uneven temperatures also exhibited similar characteristics, with a more marked sweetness than the reference whisky. However, it had almost died on the nose.

The whisky stored in cheap PET plastic bottles did not fare as well – not at all well, in fact. On the nose, it was perceived as more bitter and ashy, but still ok. On the palate and the finish, however, the cheap plastic had completely destroyed the liquid, giving off lots of pencil shaving flavours.

The experiment, then, confirms that how you store whisky does indeed transform its flavours. To put it bluntly: don’t do this to whisky, or the whisky will be upset.

Big idea: Mattias Klasson wondered what would happen to bottles stored in extreme conditions

Some of the bottles had clearly fared better than others, but the reference outshone all other whiskies. In the reference, panellists found a wonderful combination of sweetness, fruit, toffee and that lighter style of peat smoke which is Bowmore’s hallmark. By comparison, even the whisky which had been left standing half-full had lost intensity.

To conclude, some advice. If you only have 10cl left in your bottle, don’t leave the bottle standing for too long. If you pour whisky into sample bottles, don’t use cheap plastic. Finish opened bottles within the year, at least, or pour the contents into clean, glass sample bottles.

And, for heaven’s sake, keep your whisky out of the sunlight.

All samples contained Bowmore Laimrig Batch 3, and remained in their conditions for two years.

Stored in freezer at -18C: Minor flaws, subdued nose and palate
Stored outside, exposed to sunlight: Undrinkable and unrecognisable as whisky
Taped to a machine at 45C: Still good, sweeter and heavier on the oak, ‘older’
Exposed to uneven temperatures: Similar to 3, marked sweetness and poor nose
Poured into two cheap PET bottles: Bitter, ashy nose, ‘completely destroyed’ on palate
70cl bottle with 10cl of whisky in it: Oxidised, ‘a shadow of its former glory’
70cl bottle left half-full: As 1: minor flaws, subdued nose and palate
Reference whisky stored under optimal conditions: More intense, with wonderful sweetness, fruit, toffee and light peat smoke
The panellists: Mattias Klasson, Anki Ulvmåne, David Tjeder, Ingela Gustafsson, Roger Melander (Box distillery), Håkan Dahlberg, Magnus Fagerström.

July 2018
Islay single malt Bowmore has released the final part of its Vintner’s Trilogy series – a 27-year-old single malt which has spent more than half its life in a Port pipe.

Bowmore 27 Year Old Port Cask
Last part: Bowmore 27 Year Old Port Cask completes The Vintner’s Trilogy
The range, which explores the combination of Bowmore with ex-wine, Sherry and Port casks, was launched last year with the release of two single malts: Bowmore 18 Year Old Double Matured Manzanilla and Bowmore 26 Year Old Wine Matured.

Bowmore 27 Year Old Port Cask spent 13 years in ex-Bourbon barrels before being transferred to Port pipes, where the whisky was aged for another 14 years – all in Bowmore’s famous No 1 Vaults warehouse on Islay.

It is said to balance sweetness, spice, saltiness and peat smoke, with a palate that is ‘sweet and salty, with a hint of smoke, mixed with sultanas, sugarplums, salted caramel and sweet, leathery notes’.

Bottled at 48.3% abv, it is available from specialist whisky retailers, priced at £410 a bottle.

‘The combination of ex-Bourbon and Port casks has created a unique Bowmore expression that showcases the rich flavour we’re famous for in a completely new way,’ said Bowmore distillery manager David Turner.

October 2018
Bowmore has released a 19-year-old single malt matured entirely in first-fill French oak barriques as an Amazon exclusive.

Bowmore 19 Year Old Amazon exclusive
Islay aged: Bowmore 19 Year Old has been matured in the distillery’s No.1 Vaults
The limited edition expression is a first for Bowmore, having been matured solely in ex-Chateau Lagrange French oak casks for a full 19 years in the Islay distillery’s No.1 Vaults.

Bottled at 48.9% abv, the whisky is described as having ‘aromas of candied apple, honey and Bowmore’s signature light peat smoke, developing into rich toffee, wild honey and exotic spices on the palate’.

David Turner, Bowmore distillery manager, said: ‘This unique new expression has been patiently aged for 19 years in French oak barriques to impart a richness of flavour that perfectly marries with the gentle peat that has made Bowmore so famous.

‘It’s the first time we’ve offered a whisky of this age and maturation, we know everyone who buys a bottle will be rewarded with a liquid of exceptional flavour and character.’

Bowmore 19 Year Old is available through Amazon.com now in ‘limited quantities’ for £129 for a 700ml bottle.

In 2017 Bowmore released a 26 Year Old French Oak Barrique expression, matured in both ex-Bourbon barrels and wine barriques, as part of its Vintner’s Trilogy.

November 2018
Islay’s Bowmore distillery is launching a 52-year-old single malt with a price tag of £22,300, which it claims will obtain ‘legendary status’ among whisky fans.

Bowmore 1965 52-year-old
‘Legendary’ malt: Bowmore 1965 is a limited edition whisky matured in a single oloroso Sherry cask
Distilled in 1965 and matured for 52 years in a single oloroso Sherry cask in one of Bowmore’s island warehouses, the whisky is described as being ‘one of the most highly sought after among collectors’.

Bottled at a cask strength of 42% abv, the whisky is described as having notes of ‘fragrant fruits, sweet bees wax and intense dark chocolate’, with a ‘touch of jasmine, dried fruit and apricots’.

Just 232 bottles of Bowmore 1965 will be released globally from December.

David Turner, Bowmore distillery manager, said: ‘This is the third Bowmore release under my tenancy and is certainly one of the most remarkable whiskies we have produced during my time here.

‘Bowmore 1965 demonstrates the rewards of our meticulous ageing process and showcases the quality of whiskies coming from our talented and dedicated distillery team.

‘I have always been incredibly passionate about whisky and I have absolutely no doubt that the latest addition in our 50-year-old Vaults series is sure to obtain legendary status among collectors and whisky enthusiasts alike.’

Bowmore 1965 is presented in a hand-blown glass decanter and wooden presentation box.

It follows the release of Bowmore 1966 last year, a 50-year-old whisky of which only 74 bottles were produced.
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