As early as 1742 there were 10 stills operating at Lagavulin, but in 1816 farmer John Johnston opened a huddle of buildings on Lagavulin bay. Archibald Campbell founded another distillery a year later, and then Glasgow Islay whisky merchant Alexander Graham united them on Campbell's death. Set in a rocky bay close to Dunyvaig Castle, this setting is perhaps the most beautiful of any whisky distillery.
The miles of bog on the southern part of the island of Islay are what make Lagavulin tick. Rich, brown peaty water runs down the burn from Solan Lochs into the distillery, helping to create the basis of this delicious malt. At 16 years, the ageing process is one of the longest for any flagship whisky. As the local saying goes: “time takes out the fire but leaves in the warmth”.
How to Enjoy
Ideal in a traditional whisky glass, neat or with a little water, Lagavulin is delicious with Gorgonzola, Roquefort or Stilton – or any other aged blue cheese. The 12 Year Old, only released occasionally, has subtle cereal, white pepper and bergamot flavours, making it a fine aperitif whisky. The Distillers Edition, matured in casks that have previously used fortified wine, is characterised by vanilla, coffee and sweet raisin flavours, making it perfect with a drop of water.
Grab a bite
Get some grub in before or while you’re drinking – it slows alcohol absorption.