Bowmore Legend No.12 ‘The Legend of Goraidh Crobhan’ (2005)

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Goraidh Crobhan (pron: Gorry Crow-van) was an Islay hero. According to the ancient stories, he was the son of Harald the Black of Isla and his mother was a descendant of the House of Erc, so he was popular with the people of both the Norse and Celtic clans.

It seems that, at one time, Islay was being attacked and harassed by a wild, fierce dragon which had its den near Ballygrant, in the north of Islay. It was said that, because the dragon had attacked almost all the islanders, nothing could be seen on the island except the smoke rising from the three single households that had been left unscathed.

Crobhan – whose galley was anchored at the head of Lochindaal, near Bowmore – heard the story and decided to take action.

He galloped on horseback to the dragon’s den, taking with him three old horses, which he placed at intervals along the route. He goaded the dragon into coming out of his den and giving chase across the island. Crobhan galloped on with the dragon at his heels. When the dragon came to the first horse, he stopped, wolfed it down, then continued the chase. The same thing happened with the other two horses. Each stop gave Goraidh Crobhan time to keep ahead of the dragon.

By this time, the dragon was so full of food that he became slow and sluggish in his movements. From the shore to his ship, Crobhan had laid a line of barrels from the distillery at Bowmore, on which he had hammered iron stakes. Crobhan leaped across the barrels, but the old dragon, full and moving laboriously, was impaled –leaving Crobhan to finish him off for the people of Islay.

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Bowmore is a distillery that produces scotch whisky on the isle of Islay, an island of the Inner Hebrides. The distillery, which lies on the South Eastern shore of Loch Indaal, is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, said to have been established in 1779 by a local merchant, John P. Simpson, before passing into the ownership of the Mutter family. James Mutter, head of the family, also had farming interests and was Vice Consul representing the Ottoman Empire, Portugal, and Brazil through their Glasgow consulates. There are no records that pinpoint the exact date Mutter acquired the distillery from Simpson. Mutter would introduce a number of innovative processes to the distillery during his tenure and even had a small iron steam ship built to import barley and coal from the mainland and to export the whisky to Glasgow.

The distillery was bought from the Mutter family in 1925 by J.B. Sheriff & Co. and remained under their ownership until being purchased by Inverness-based William Grigor & Son, Ltd. in 1950. During the World Wars the Bowmore Distillery halted production, and hosted the RAF Coastal Command for much of World War II, Coastal Command operated flying boats from Loch Indaal on Anti-submarine warfare missions.

Stanley P. Morrison and James Howat formed Stanley P. Morrison Ltd. in 1951, and this company formed Morrison’s Bowmore Distillery, Ltd. in 1963 in order to take over the Bowmore Distillery. Stanley P. Morrison died in 1971, and control of the companies passed to Brian Morrison. The company name has changed slightly, and, following minor restructuring, the distillery is now owned by Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd., which is ultimately owned by the Japanese distiller Suntory, following their takeover of Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd. during 1994. Suntory had previously been a shareholder in Morrison Bowmore for several years.

Additional information

Weight 1.9 kg





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