Bowmore Limited 1989 Edition

In 1779, a farmer named David Simson founded a distillery on the shores of Loch Indaal which is known today as Bowmore. Bowmore is the oldest legal distillery on Islay. It is owned and operated by Morrison Bowmore, which in turn is owned by Suntory of Japan.

Like almost all the Islay whiskies, Bowmore single-malt whiskies have that peaty quality that drinkers either love or hate, but it's a bit lighter and less aggressive than, say, Laphroaig or Ardbeg. Now Bowmore has come out with a limited production of a single-vintage whisky. The Bowmore Limited 1989 Edition is fairly soft but very complex. It is bottled at cask strength, with 51.8 percent alcohol, yet surprisingly gentle. Promising for a cold winter evening ;-)

Lochindaal distillery aka Port Charlotte

Lochindaal was a purpose-built distillery in the Rhinns of Islay which survived in the 20th century. Located in the heart of Port Charlotte village it was constructed for its first licensee, Colin Campbell, in 1829. He only held onto it for two years and subsequently it had many owners: McLennan & Grant from 1831-2; George McLennan 1833-5; Walter Graham 1837; Henderson Lamont & Co until 1852; Rhinns Distillery Co 1852; William Guild & Co to 1855 before a period of stability under the ownership of John B Sherrif until 1895 and then J B Sherrif & Co Ltd up to 1921. It was eventually taken over by Benmore Distilleries Ltd in 1921 prior to that company's acquisition by the DCL. That signalled the end of Lochindaal and it closed in 1929.

Some of it was used by the Islay Creamery until the early 1990's and the shore-side warehouses remain in use by a local garage and the Islay Youth Hostel and Field Centre, whilst a roadside building is now used for vehicle repairs and the distillery cottage is inhabited. The bonded warehouses on the hill behind the distillery site have been in continuous use by other distillers and are currently used by the Bruichladdich Distillery. This is one lost distillery on Islay that has a good photographic history, which clearly records the distillery site during its century of operation

Update: In spring 2007 Bruichladdich announced the reopening of the Lochindaal Distillery and will be called the Port Charlotte Distillery

The Laddie’s Beer helps the RNLI

An ale has been brewed from Islay single malt for the first time. Micro-brewery Islay Ales, on the Hebridean island of the same name, has hooked up with neighbouring distiller Bruichladdich to produce a powerful and heady brew. By interrupting the whisky–making process at the stage of mashing, 600 litres of the prefermented liquor known as ‘wort’ was shipped to Islay Ales brewery.

Here, using brewer’s yeast, the ‘wort’ obtained from a maceration of Optic barley, was fermented to a knee-trembling 9% alcohol ale. Brewer Paul Hathaway added Challenger and Bramling Cross hops for extra flavour: “The distillery usually gets a 7% alcohol using different yeast strain – but I managed to get a thumping 9% alcohol.” “It’s a crossover drink: it has the delicious malty richness of Bruichladdich’s wort and the bitterness of hops. You can drink it now – it will get even better with time.”

1,800 bottles (33cl) entitled “Worts n’Ale” will be sold at £3 each exclusively by Islay Ales. Twenty-five pence from each bottle will go to the RNLI. The debut for this monster was Sunday 28th May at the opening day of the Islay Whisky & Music Festival “Feis Ile” at Bruichladdich Distillery. “At 9% alcohol this is a beer for savouring and certainly not for session drinking.

Shipwreck of the Wyre Majestic going down

The area in and around the Sound of Islay is a notorious graveyard of ships with over 50 wrecks catalogued. There are strong rips and currents that boil through the narrow sound and these have caught many vessels unawares. At 338 tons Wyre Majestic was built by Cochranes in 1956 at Selby. One of the large fleet of Wyre Trawlers, she ran ashore in the Sound of Islay on passage from Oban close to the Bunnahabhain Distillery.

Unable to get berths in the busy port of Oban, Wyre Majestic and Wyre Defence decided to steam for Fleetwood to land their catch. Wyre Defence pulled ahead of the Majestic Majestic's skipper was in his bunk and the bosun at the wheel as she seemed to move to the starboard side of her sister ship and would appear to have held a south west by south course for too long......