Whisky Legends Survey: David Turner Bowmore Distillery Manager

What can I say… what an honor to have as a guest the Distillery Manager of one of the top Scotch Whisky Distilleries in the world? David is not your usual kind of DM, David, when you meet him, exudes passion for Whisky, numbers matter to him much less than the actual product, he is one of us, one of the Whisky Lovers, he is not a numbers guy for sure.

If you go to Islay you simply cannot miss visiting this fantastic Distillery and if you’re lucky and David is around he might even stop and chat about drams and bottles like you would with a collector friend. When I first met him he actually came to me and said “Diego, it’s so nice to finally meet you! I heard a lot about you and your operation” then I politely asked him “and you are….?”  At this point his secretary answered for him and I almost fell on the floor as I wanted to hide at that moment…. and even though he is famous for his professional approach to details, staff management and product… humble is not even close, that’s David. Anyway enough wowing it up! Here he is!

David Turner


1.YOUR LOVE FOR THE SPIRIT, HOW DID IT ALL START? Tell us about the first days….

I was born in 1973 and brought up and still live in Port Ellen, Islay,  Distilleries have always been a big part of Islay life, my Grandfather worked in Bowmore through the 50’s till the late 70’s, he was at the Bowmore Bicentenary Dinner in 1979 and his wish was that the Bowmore Bicentenary bottle he was gifted was opened at his Funeral, I was 8 year old and remember it getting opened and appreciate, that is my first memory of a Whisky getting opened.

I started work in Bowmore Distillery on the 4th  June 1990 when I was 16 years old, I have worked my way up through the Process to Head Distillery in 2006 and Manager in 2012.

  1. YOU’RE GOING TO A DESERT ISLAND, YOU CAN TAKE 3 BOTTLES WITH YOU…  Which ones will you take and what else (not bottles) would you take?

Bowmore 1955, 40 year old 42%

Bowmore Bouquet 1966 Samaroli

Port Ellen 12 year old 1980 Queens visit (because I’m a Port Ellen boy at heart!!)


Travel, Food, playing Golf and Cars.


Collecting is becoming very expensive and the old bottling’s are very hard to find, snap them up when you can, I’m glad I started collecting over 20 year ago. If you have the chance to drink whiskies from the 50’s and 60’s it’s a must, these old Drams are amazing.

Concentrate on one Region or Distillery.

  1. WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE, if anything, in today’s whisky-world

Replicate the 50’s and early 60’s whisky, watch this space……..



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