Yesterday I wrote about the press release which appeared on the University of Glasgow website in which was stated that Ardbeg could be Islay's oldest distillery. Soon after this publication the sales Director of Morrison Bowmore contacted the Ileach with the following statement:
After the publication of the press release Morrison Bowmore sales Director David Wilson subsequently contacted the Ileach with a robust defence of the 1779 date - claiming indeed that Andrew Jones the researcher and broadcaster has documentary evidence showing that 1766 saw the first transaction in connection with the Bowmore Distillery with the granting of a feu by Daniel Campbell The Younger to David Simson. Jones claims that reference to the 1766 transaction is made repeatedly in successive documents, clearly identifying the land as the site of the current Bowmore Distillery. For example such a reference is found in pages 8 and 9 of the bond given at Edinburgh dated 24th April 1833 by John Simson to Francis Murray. Clifford N Jupp wrote that although we know Bowmore Distillery didn?t start until 1779 there may have been a distillery of sorts on part of the same site since 1766 when David Simson was given a feu. At that time he sold his Kilarow property to Donald MacEachein and may have been established as an illicit distiller in Bowmore.
This will be an interesting investigation to watch during the coming weeks and months. It might even turn out that Bowmore is the oldest distillery in Scotland with a date of 1766 being mentioned in the reaction of David Wilson. There will probably more news on this subject later so stay tuned!