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Known for producing some of the smokiest whisky’s that Scotland has to offer; Lagavulin whisky takes the title of the 2nd best-selling single malt whisky from the Islay region, with Laphroaig taking 1st position.
Lagavulin whisky is almost entirely matured in ex-bourbon casks, providing its robust, uncompromising smoke and slated fish characteristics and has converted countless people to whisky drinking, as well a remaining a firm favourite with whisky drinkers worldwide.
The Lagavulin distillery, located on the shore of Lagavulin Bay, is one of 3 distilleries on the south coast of Islay, along with Ardbeg and Laphroaig. Home to two pairs of stills at the distillery, Lagavulin whisky has a long distillation time which is believed to be the success behind its intense richness for a malt scotch whisky.
Founded in 1816 by John Johnston, in an era where there were as many as ten illegal distilleries in the south coast area. However, under the management of Johnston, the Lagavulin distillery was home to legal distilling. Shortly after opening the Lagavulin distillery, another local distillery called Ardmore opened, however, this became part of the Lagavulin family a few decades later.
1836 saw the passing of founded John Johnston at which point the distillery was purchased by Alexander Graham, a spirit’s merchant from Glasgow. After owning the distillery for 25 years, the distillery was purchase by James Mackie who made a partnership with the surviving member of the Graham family, Captain Graham. James Mackie introduces his nephew, Peter, into the business in 1878 where he begins to learn the secrets of distilling, as well as a name for himself as ‘Restless Peter’ for working extremely hard.
1890 sees Peter Mackie succeed as a senior partner in the distillery and under his guidance Lagavulin becomes a household name. Mackie makes the decision to restore two buildings on the Lagavulin distillery site believed to be a former still house and store, naming them Malt Mill.
However, in 1924, Mackie’s passing means that Mackie and Co becomes White Horse Distillers Ltd. And in 1927, White Horse Distillers and Lagavulin join the Distillers Company Limited.
1939 sees the introduction of women working in the distillery during the war period, however in 1941 the distillery closes for a duration of time. With the reopening of the distillery, in 1948 electricity is introduced. And in 1962 Malt Mill is closed, however, a treasured sample of the whisky is kept safe at the Lagavulin distillery to this day.
In 1974, Lagavulin decommissioned their own floor maltings and began to get their malt from Port Ellen. And until the 1980s the distillery ran a two-day working week which later caused problems for the distillery over the years when it came to meeting the high demand for their whisky.
Lagavulin Scotch was one of six whiskies to the marketed as the ‘Classic Malts of Scotland’ when it launched in 1988, only adding to the issues in supply.
2016 saw Lagavulin celebrated their 200th anniversary, producing a number of limited-edition bottlings to celebrate the occasion, including the Lagavulin 8 Year Old, a Lagavulin 25 Year Old and a Lagavulin 12 Year Old.
A popular single malt scotch whisky, the Lagavulin 16 Year Old offers a massive peat-smoke, typical of Southern Islay. As well as offering a richness and dryness that transforms into a truly interesting tipple. Lagavulin 16 Year Old has become a benchmark Islay dram from the Lagavulin distillery.
In the 1880s, Alfred Barnard, author of The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom, enjoyed an 8 year old Lagavulin whisky which he described as “exceptionally fine”. Therefore to commemorate the 200th anniversary, Lagavulin recreated an 8 year old whisky. Bottled at 48% abv and matured in refill European and American oak casks.
The 2002 distillers edition of Lagavulin single malt whisky packs a peaty punch. After being finishing in Pedro Ximénez casks, this whisky was bottled in 2018, offering savoury peat notes which go extremely well with the intense sweetness of the sherry casks, creating a complex and highly enjoyable dram.
Here at The Spirits Embassy, we stock a range of Lagavulin whisky. If you’re looking to buy Lagavulin whisky online, browse our range below where you will find everything from old and rare to more popular offerings from the Lagavulin distillery.
Additionally, if you require any assistance with your purchase or would like more information, please feel free to get in touch with the knowledgeable and friendly team at The Spirits Embassy.
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