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Often claimed as one of Islay's oldest distillery operating since 1779, Bowmore formally obtained the licence to produce whisky only in 1816. Located at the centre of Islay, the distillery passed hands throughout its history, most notably in 1837 and then in 1963 to Stanley P Morrison and then Japanese Distiller Suntory bought a stake in 1989 and took full control in 1994. The distillery does its own floor maltings for about 40% of its requirement and the remaining malt comes from the mainland yielding an overall medium peated spirit. The smoke has a characteristic salinity combined with mandarin peel and a floral touch which when matured in refill casks for a long period of time makes the peat less obvious. Mostly matured in ex-Sherry butts, Bowmore legendary No.1 Vaults offer a unique damp environment being below the level of Loch Indaal.