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Lagavulin

The single malt whiskies from Lagavulin, such as the legendary Lagavulin 16 Year Old, are amongst the world's smokiest with thick lapsang souchon enveloping the palate without remorse. One of the trio of Ìleach distilleries gracing the isle’s South-Easterly shore, each sharing a characteristic peat smoke as well as being Scotland’s most pungent and perhaps most revered. In 1816, the Lagavulin whisky distillery was founded by John Johnston.

Surrounded by dark peat bog and drawing its water from the Solan Lochs, Lagavulin sits at the head of a bay and not far from the ruins of Dunyvaig castle. The best-selling Islay single malt scotch until 1998, when it was overtaken by the neighbouring Laphroaig, Lagavulin is currently experiencing problems in meeting whisky demands. The recent difficulties stem from a few decades when working conditions were decidedly lax; a two day working week led to very low production and it was not until 1981 that a five day week was finally instated.

Lagavulin holds claim to Scotland’s slowest distillation with five hours for the first distillation and a further nine for the second. Despite the pungency of the single malt, there is a certain smoothness to the palate which many attribute to the leisurely rate of distillation. The heart of the Lagavulin range receives global acclaim and there have been almost no independent bottlings. Currently as much as 98% of the spirit is earmarked for maturation as a single malt and Diageo have included Lagavulin in their Classic Malts range.

Lagavulin Whisky Distillery

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About Lagavulin Whisky Distillery

Distillery Number

01496 302749

Distillery Founded

1816

Distillery Capacity

2 250 000 litres

Distillery Status

Active

Distillery Owner

Diageo

Distillery Address

Near Port Ellen, Islay, Argyll

Distillery Website

www.malts.com

1816

John Johnston founds the distillery.

1825

John Johnston takes over the adjacent distillery Ardmore founded in 1817 by Archibald Campbell and closed in 1821.

1835

Production at Ardmore ceases.

1837

Both distilleries are merged and operated under the name Lagavulin by Donald Johnston.

1852

The brother of the wine and spirits dealer Alexander Graham, John Crawford Graham, purchases the distillery.

1867

The distillery is acquired by James Logan Mackie & Co. and refurbishment starts.

1878

Peter Mackie is employed.

1889

James Logan Mackie passes away and nephew Peter Mackie inherits the distillery.

1890

J. L. Mackie & Co. changes name to Mackie & Co. Peter Mackie launches White Horse onto the export market with Lagavulin included in the blend. White Horse blended is not available on the domestic market until 1901.

1908

Peter Mackie uses the old distillery buildings to build a new distillery, Malt Mill, on the site. Mackie had previously been agent for Laphroaig but the owners were not content and terminated the contract. Malt Mill was an attempt by Mackie to compete and force Laphroaig out of the market.

1924

Peter Mackie passes away and Mackie & Co. changes name to White Horse Distillers.

1927

White Horse Distillers becomes part of Distillers Company Limited (DCL).

1930

The distillery is administered under Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD).

1952

An explosive fire breaks out and causes considerable damage.

1960

Malt Mills distillery closes and today it houses Lagavulin’s visitor centre.

1974

Floor maltings are decommisioned and malt is bought from Port Ellen instead.

1988

Lagavulin 16 years becomes one of six Classic Malts.

1998

A Pedro Ximenez sherry finish is launched as a Distillers Edition.

2002

Two cask strengths (12 years and 25 years) are launched.

2006

A 30 year old is released.

2007

A 21 year old from 1985 and the sixth edition of the 12 year old are released.

2008

A new 12 year old is released.

Reproduced from the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2009 with the kind permission of Mr Ingvar Ronde

Tasting Sets
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Mature Your Own Kit
Glenfarclas Whisky Distillery
A very, very rare ceramic decanter of 15 year old Lagavulin, this was released in the 1980s, and is quite a collectors' piece. In fact, Serge Valentin from WhiskyFun.com rated this with a whopping 94...  More info
From Speciality Drinks' Elements of Islay range, originally packaged with a laboratory look. Each is a 50cl bottle of cask strength Islay malt, each are given Periodic Table style names, which hint at...  More info
Lagavulin Distillery Only
(70cl, 52.50%)
A very special Lagavulin, this "distillery only" bottling is made with the remnant of whisky from a previous bottling run of Distiller's Edition. It is then re-casked and left for a few extra years.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$281.13
Lagavulin Feis Ile 2010
(70cl, 52.70%)
A special release from the Lagavulin distillery, distilled in 1994 and filled into a European Oak Sherry cask (number 3210) on the 1st August 1994, and aged for 15 years before bottling in 2010. Each...  More info
$172.93
Superbly smoky malt, Lagavulin 16 is a Scotch legend in its own right. This presentation set features a bottle of the 16 year old with two Lagavulin branded Glencairn whisky tasting glasses.  More info
This was distilled at Lagavulin in 1987 and finished in Pedro Ximénez dessert sherry casks. Bottled in 2003, this stuff is fantastic. A glass of this goes astonishingly with a chocolate-based dessert.  More info
$160.05
Distilled in 1980 at Lagavulin, this is one of the tremendous Distiller's Editions finished in Pedro Ximénez casks. It's delicious - like peat smoke mixed with syrupy rich sherry.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$199.89
The 2010 Lagavulin Special Release from Diageo. This 12 year old is a vatting of refil American oak casks, and it marks the 9th in the series so far. Sweet and intense.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
Perhaps the best of all the Diageo Distillers Edition whiskies (a selection of their classic malts that are finished in wine casks). This delicious 1994 vintage Lagavulin was finished in Pedro Ximénez...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
The second release in the Lg range of Elements. An interesting alternative to the distillery's standard bottling.  More info
$76.83
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