Islay 2014: Bowmore Open Day | Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog

Monday, 1 September 2014

Islay 2014: Bowmore Open Day

Having stayed in the middle of nowhere during our first trip to Islay, we decided that this time we wanted something a bit more central, and chose a lovely little cottage in Bowmore. On our first morning, we took a stroll down to the distillery - it would have been rude not to, seeing as we could see the chimneys from our bedroom window - and discovered that we'd arrived on a good day.
The view from our bedroom
Shrouded in the smell of delicious whisky wash the distillery was hosting an open day, with complimentary tours and a few added extras, in exchange for donations to local care home Gortanvogie and Islay Hospital. Whilst we waited for our tour, we relaxed on the balcony with a Bowmore Surf and ginger beer. A lime slice in your dram is probably frowned upon in many a distillery, but this little cocktail worked perfectly in the sunshine alongside a mini lemon drizzle cake.
The tour was hosted by Heather, a genuine Ileach and certainly a woman with Bowmore running through her veins. Bowmore is the oldest distillery on the island, and the tour demonstrated how they maintain a stout commitment to tradition, still carrying out every part of the whisky-making on site. We were led through the Old Maltings (where Jim had a little go with the grubber) to the kiln, before going on to the mash house, past the six enormous wash backs named after previous distillery owners, to the still room and the incredible No. 1 vaults.

Amongst their 28,500 casks on site, the warehouse holds a cask of 49 year old bourbon aged whisky, that the angels have had far more than their fair share of. With strong suspicions that this may be due to be bottled on its 50th year, look out for it as it will no doubt be something a little bit special.
Inside the No. 1 vaults

A Bowmore Darkest hot chocolate and a few wee drams back in the lounge rounded off the afternoon. There's something about a tour that makes you feel that bit more attached to the distillery - as Heather put it, "you have a passion for the whole island, but for only one distillery" and Bowmore certainly had won us over.

Slainte,

J&L

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