The Bowmore distillery was founded by John Simpson in 1779, and it is the oldest distillery on Islay. It sits in the town of the same name, right on the sea front. This coastal location brings a very brazen, salty character to the whisky, and the single malt is best-described as a muscular, smoky Scotch. After changing hands throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the distillery was finally purchased by the Japanese company Suntory during the late 1980s, with the final shares bought up by the drinks giant in 1994. Today, the whisky is the second best-selling on the Island, beaten only by Laphroaig.