Gated off from the quaint seaside village that lends it its name, Bowmore feels like the Willy Wonka chocolate factory of scotch distilleries. There’s a certain mysticism emanating from this 18th-century edifice, and it’s more than the warm cereal aromas wafting up from the active malting floor. The Ultimate Bowmore Experience includes a visit to its No. 1 Vaults, where a whisky thief is dipped into a cask during an enchanted tasting within Scotland’s oldest barrelhouse. The distinct liquid aged here, rich and robust, is markedly less peaty than what you find elsewhere on the island. A newly remodeled visitors centre overlooks scenic Loch Indaal and features a handful of distillery-exclusive bottlings.
Power move: Book a stay a block away at Harbour Inn. The lobby doubles as an idyllic fireside bar where you’ll ward off the damp Islay air with drams of truly local malt. In the morning, wake up to a bowl of Bowmore-topped porridge, a local delicacy.