A splash of new make and bevvy of cask Bowmores, all liberated deep inside the warehouse under the Islay shoreline

[nggallery id=18]

Type: Islay

Known for: light peat

And: a sweet sucker punch behind it


Bowmore Distillery, Islay, Argyllshire, PA43 7GS, 01496 810441


The oldest distillery on Islay having been up and running since 1779, Bowmore is a special place where distillery manager Eddie MacAffer promised to blow our socks off and proceeded to do just that.

The floor maltings here may not malt all of Bowmore’s barley, but they keep the tradition alive and, as MacAffer put it, “the shovelling’s good for your golf swing”. So we asked how his game was after his formative years on the shovel, to which he replied, “it’s not very good actually,” before adding, “but my swing looks great”.

Up in the kiln the waft of the peat drifting up through the hot barley was perfection itself given the typically frigid, damp Islay sea winds battering the outside of the building at the time, while the visit down into the warehouses was epic. Damp, cold and moist, these are in fact beneath the sea shore and the water rolls in over the top of Bowmore’s barrels.

Having sampled a variety of drams straight from the cask, all of which packed an alluring rich punch laced with peat, we made for the MacAffer’s office where he crowned a spectacular visit with the remains of his personal stash of the legendary Bowmore Gold. Sweet, tropical and moreish in the extreme, this left our already smoking socks in pieces and we left dazed and happy, as most visitors no doubt do.

As for the whisky, it falls at the sweeter end of the Islay spectrum and packs the peat in mildly rather than battering you with it making it one of the most accessible ways to splash in a drop of Islay madness. A firm favourite.

Buy Bowmore Scotch whisky from:

Bowmore tasting notes

[mappress mapid="19"]