The Story of Bowmore

According to legend, Bowmore distillery was founded in 1779, making it the oldest on Islay and one of the oldest in Scotland.



However, as is so often the case, this is a difficult claim to verify as there is no evidence of whisky production at the site until 1816 when owner, John Simpson, took out an official licence. Ignoring any ambiguity surrounding the actual date, Bowmore marked their Bicentenary in 1979 with a very special series of releases. Distilled in the 1960s, and made to resemble the kind of rustic, hand-blown bottle 18th century whisky may have occupied, these expressions are now considered some of the best produced by the distillery.

Another major milestone in the distillery’s history came much later, in 1963, when it was bought by one Stanley P Morrison. An established whisky broker from Glasgow, Morrison had been involved in facilitating deals on behalf of industry giants including Chivas, Seagrams, DCL and Teachers; but his acquisition of Bowmore marked is first foray into distilling and the start of an empire that also included Glen Garioch and Auchentoshan.

Today Bowmore falls under the umbrella of global drinks conglomerate Beam-Suntory, but the now legendary 1960s vintages produced by Morrison played a huge part in cementing the brand’s current reputation as one of the most prestigious names in Scotch. Not least of which was the fabulous 1963 vintage bottled to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Morrison’s acquisition, making it a must for any serious Bowmore collector.


 In addition to those two icons, our December whisky auction also features another two 1960s distillations, as well as a pair of collectable limited editions bottled for Glasgow’s 1988 Garden Festival. For your chance to snag any of these wonderful whiskies, please join us on Friday the 9th of December at 10:30, when 214 lots go under the hammer!



McTear’s is the longest-established auctioneer of whisky in the world. Entries are invited for this international auction. For a complimentary, no-obligation valuation, visit our Glasgow Galleries or contact our specialist on 0141 810 2880 or

Ewan Thomson

Ewan Thomson

Ewan Thomson

Whisky & Wine

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