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Our History

Bowmore is Islay’s oldest distillery, and home to the world’s oldest whisky maturation warehouse, the No. 1 Vaults. It’s in this legendary warehouse that Bowmore whisky has been meticulously matured by our master distillers for nearly 240 years.

The first recorded mention of Bowmore Distillery dates from 1779, but speak kindly to a few of the older islanders and they’ll maybe whisper a rumour or two that distilling started here some time before that.

Certainly Bowmore’s founder, the merchant David Simpson, bought the land in 1766. Exactly what happened in the years in between is anyone’s guess!

When it comes to whisky heritage, Bowmore Distillery is unrivalled. We continue to hand down the traditions, skills and expertise that were crafted in the earliest days of Scotch whisky.

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The first recorded mention of Bowmore Distillery

The first recorded mention of the Bowmore Distillery, the first licensed distillery on Islay and second in Scotland. Local knowledge suggests distilling started almost ten years earlier. 1779
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The Mutter brothers buy Bowmore Distillery

Glaswegian twin brothers William and James Mutter purchased Bowmore Distillery from the Simpson family. Their lasting legacy saw the build of our lade which draws water from the River Laggan. 1837
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One of the oldest Bowmore bottles

One of the oldest Bowmore bottles in our possession, this is how the Mutter bottles of the 1880s looked. 1880
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John Sherriff buys Bowmore Distillery

After just 50 years of owning Bowmore Distillery, economic depression saw a drop in demand for whisky, leading the Mutter family to sell the distillery to John Bell Sherriff of Campbeltown. 1887
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Joseph Holmes buys Bowmore Distillery

The distillery was purchased by a consortium headed by Joseph Robert Holmes who named the distillery Bowmore Distillery Co. 1892
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Sherriff buys Bowmore Distillery for a second time

James Bell Sherriff bought Bowmore Distillery for the second time and renamed it Sherriff’s Bowmore Distillery. 1925
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Bowmore Distillery used as air base during WW2

Bowmore ceases production as the distillery is commandeered by RAF Costal Command to help with the efforts during the Second World War. Three squadrons operated from the distillery between 1940 – 1943. 1940
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Stanley P Morrison purchases Bowmore Distillery

Whisky broker Stanley P Morrison Ltd purchases Bowmore Distillery. 1963
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Bowmore Distillery celebrates bicentenary

To celebrate the distillery’s bicentenary, we released a rare and limited edition bottling that reflected the original Mutter bottles available at the time. 1979
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Queen Elizabeth II visits Bowmore Distillery

Queen Elizabeth II visited Bowmore Distillery, her first visit to any scotch whisky distillery. She was presented with her own cask and bottles from this cask were later sold to raise money for local charities. 1980
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The Black Bowmore Trilogy

The first expression of the coveted Black Bowmore trilogy was released. 1993
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The oldest Islay malt ever released

The 1957 expression was released – the oldest Islay single malt ever released. Matured in the No.1 Vaults for 54 years, only 12 bottles exist making this an extremely rare whisky. 2012
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Beam Suntory

Beam Suntory acquire Morrison Bowmore Distillers. 2014
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Bowmore Mizunara Released

In a first for single malt scotch whisky, Bowmore Mizunara was released marrying the strength and passion of scotch whisky with the elegance and refinement of whisky matured in Japanese Mizunara casks. 2015
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The final Black Bowmore Released

The fifth and final cask of Black Bowmore was rediscovered, resulting in the exquisite Black Bowmore 50 Year Old, The Last Cask To Be Rediscovered - a fitting tribute to all the craftsmen who have worked at the distillery over the past 50 years. 2016
1779
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1837
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1880
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1887
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1892
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1925
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1940
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1963
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1979
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1980
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1993
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2012
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2014
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2015
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2016
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