A distillery of great antiquity, distinguished provenance and an assured future, Bowmore is one of the gems of Islay. And so it was when I visited there in 1985 when it was still firmly in the ownership of Stanley P Morrison Ltd., proudly proclaiming itself to be “Morrison’s Bowmore Distillery”. Thus it remained from 1963 when Morrison’s acquired it, until 1994 when the Japanese Suntory Company took over the distillery in its entirety, having first taken a share holding in 1989. Since 2014 it has been part of the Beam Suntory empire, along with nearby Laphroaig.
The two outstanding features at Bowmore for me – which I believe are still applicable – were the dedication to continue with the distillery’s own floor maltings and the – presumably beneficial – maritime influence on the product, as a result of much of the distillery being actually on the sea wall. This is believed to be a positive, not only in terms of maturation, but also with the processes of malting, brewing and distilling by preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi.