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Lagavulin distillery

The famous Lagavulin Distillery is located in the south of the Scottish island of Islay . It is idyllically situated in a bay where the pirates used to come. The whisky from this distillery, one of the best single malts in the country, has a sharp smoky taste, with a hint of fruity and salty.


The old malt floors of the distillery were shut down in 1974. Since then, the distillery has been sourcing its malt from Port Ellen. Both 20ppm heavily peated and 50ppm heavily peated malt are used to blend these two qualities into a new one with 38ppm for production. The water originates from the mountain Bheinn Sholum and its two lakes lower Sholum and upper Lochan Sholum. The stills are onion-shaped and produce a heavy, characterful malt. Used since 1890, Lagavulin is an integral part of the world famous White Horse Blend.

The core range of the distillery only includes the 16-year-old single malt and a Distillers Edition. There are also a number of vintage, distillery and festival bottlings. But there are also many different independent bottlings available.


1742 there were probably around 10 illicit distilleries near a valley basin with a mill in the area where today’s distillery is located. It was not until 1816 that some huts came together under the resident farmer John Johnston. There were probably two legal distilleries with a few changes of ownership at that time. From 1837 there was only one distillery under the leadership of Alexander Graham. In 1908, the then owner Peter Mackie used the former building to build a second still called Malt Mill on the site. This second still closes again in 1962 and becomes the Lagavulin visitor center.

Lagavulin factsheet

Name Pronounced AKA Region Country of Origin
Lagavulin Islay Scotland
Status Active Whisky Type Website Tours Available
Active 1816 - Present Malt Lagavulin Tour Link
Manager Distiller Blender Owned by Parent Group
Mike Nicolson; Maureen Robinson Diageo

Lagavulin Timeline:

late 1700s: Up to ten illicit stills were operating in the area

1816: The first distillery on this site was founded by John Johnston, who continued to operate at least until 1833

1817: The second distillery on this site was founded Archibald Campbell

1821-22: Archibald Campbell & Co., when Archibald Campbell withdrew

1825-34: John Johnston occupied both distilleries

1833: Two distilleries were present in the bay, which merged to form Lagavulin Distillery under the ownership of the Graham brothers and there partner, James Logan Mackie, uncle of Peter Mackie, who later became one of the "Big Five" in the whisky industry

1833-35: John Morrison operated, when bankrupt (see Kildalton)

....: John Morrison took over the second distillery

by 1837: There was only one distillery, occupied by Donald Johnston. This is probably the ancestor of the present Lagavulin

1851: Operating

1852: John Graham

1860: Walter Graham

1867-89: James L. Mackie & Co., when incorporated as Mackie & Co. (Distillers) Ltd.

1887: The distillery was visited by Alfred Barnard

1908: Two old buildings, which had at one time been a small distillery named Malt Mill Distillery, built in 1816, were restored to produce a whisky according to the original techniques. Only peat was burned in the kilns

1924: Sir Peter Mackie died and Mackie & Co. reconstructed as White Horse Distillers Ltd.

1927: Joined the Distillers Company Ltd. (DCL)

1930: Transferred to Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd. (SMD)

1960: The ’original’ distillery, built in 1908, was closed down to make room for a larger still house for the main distillery

1962: Still house rebuilt, incorporating stills from Malt Mill Distillery, built within the complex 1908. Four stills

....: The product won Best Single Malt award

1992: Licensed to White Horse Distillers Ltd.

1994: The product won a gold medal at the International Wine and Spirit Competition

1995: The product won a gold medal at the International Wine and Spirit Competition

1996: The product won a gold medal at the International Wine and Spirit Competition

1999: Owned by United Distillers & Vintners Ltd. (UDV)

1999: The Distillers Edition won Best Single Malt Over 12 Years at the International Wine and Spirit Competition Awards

2004: Owned by Diageo plc

Can I tour Lagavulin?

Yes Lagavulin distillery is tourable. On Trip Advisor the distillery has been rated as excellent by 0 of tours to date. This gives Lagavulin an overall rating of

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