Bowmore has many claims to fame but they include being the oldest distillery on Islay (established 1779) and having the oldest warehouse in Scotland. Like many distilleries, Bowmore closed during the Second World War. Bowmore was used by RAF Coastal Command which was tasked with protecting allied shipping. Bowmore is also one of the few distilleries in Scotland to have their own floor maltings making it a popular place to tour.
Scotch whisky is usually matured in American or European Oak Barrels. In the case of Bowmore Mizunara Cask Finish the distillery imported Mizurno oak casks from Japan. They were then filled and laid to mature in the oldest warehouse in Scotland, the No. 1 Vaults bringing together Eastern and Western whisky cultures.
Bowmore Tours and Tastings
Bowmore Distillery is currently closed due to the Covid-19 situation. In normal times, they have a number of whisky tasting tour and tasting options.
The Unlock Hidden Depths – Tasting Tour
“A perfectly balanced taste of what it takes to make Bowmore Whisky”
An introductory tour through Bowmore Distillery learning how the distillery team produces whisky in the Bowmore tradition. The tasting at the end takes place in the visitor centre with views over the loch. Tasting glass included. Duration 1 Hour. Cost £
Time Savoured – Whisky Tasting
“A whisky journey to treat the senses”
A whisky tasting (not a tour) with a detailed look at the importance of time in how Bowmore crafts its spirits. A Bowmore Distillery Guide takes you on this tasting experience of Bowmore whiskies and treats. Duration 1.5 Hours. Cost ££
Vaults Secrets – Tasting Tour
“Tailored to the single malt whisky enthusiast, this tour takes you to the very heart of the Bowmore Distillery”
The Bowmore Vaults Secret’s Tour begins with a taste of the limited Vaults Edition. This behind the scene tours includes the Bowmore floor maltings, warehouses and the Vaults Secrets Tasting Room for a very special cask tasting. Tour includes a Bowmore tasting set including a 100ml cask whisky. Bowmore glass and lanyard. Duration 2.5 Hours. Cost ££
The Laggan, The Lade, and The Legendary No.1 Vaults
“Unlock Bowmore’s hidden depths on the ultimate whisky experience”
A specialised depth tour including a visit to the River Laggan, Bowmore’s water source and discover the story of the Bowmore Lade. Then it’s a ploughmand lunch at Cafaidh Blasda based at the local Gaelic college. Then it’s a detailed tour of Bowmore Distillery with a tasting in the legendary No.1 Vaults. Duration 5 Hours. Cost ££££
Bowmore has a tasting bar where you can savour the whisky and views across Loch Indaal. Guided Bowmore Tasting Tray Flights are also available paired with handmade chocolate.
Tour & Distillery Highlights
- Bar Tastings
- Warehouse tastings
- Malting Floor
- Distillery Shop
- In Depth Tours
- Coastal Location
How to get to Bowmore Distillery
Address: Bowmore Distillery, School Street, Bowmore, Isle of Islay PA43 7JS
Bowmore Distillery is situated in Bowmore itself, down at the sea edge. There is a bus service which stops in Bowmore (450/451). If you are driving, please note that drink driving laws in Scotland are extremely strict and there is a zero tolerance policy. Driver packs can be used to take away samples for later consumption. For detailed directions click on the link within the map.
Bowmore Distillery is owned by Beam Suntory and it has three sister distilleries. You can visit each one to discover their own individual character. Laphroaig is nearby on Islay and is often visited on a tour of Islay. Auchentoshan is near Glasgow and Glen Garioch is in the north east of Scotland. these other distilleries using the whisky map.