Local records suggest that Lagavulin was already a centre of whisky production in the early 18th century. There had almost certainly been many other illicit stills before John Johnston founded the ﬁrst legal distillery at Lagavulin Bay in 1816.
As with all Scottish distilleries, it passed through the hands of different owners, including the celebrated Sir Peter Mackie, whose company became White Horse Distillers, forever associated with Lagavulin. White Horse joined The Distillers Company Ltd. (eventually Diageo) in 1927.
In 1989, Lagavulin became one of the six Classic Malts of Scotland™. Miles and miles of peat bog in the west of the island provide the raw material whose influence so characterises the south eastern Islay malts, of which Lagavulin is perhaps best known.
THE HISTORY OF THE LIQUID
In 1742 there were at least ten illicit stills at Lagavulin, and it would be another 74 years until local farmer John Johnston founded the first legal distillery, in sight of Dunyvaig Castle. Its name may have changed over the years, but the quiet power of peat and smoke that pervades this malt has not.
THE REGION: ISLAY
Islay, the 'Queen of the Hebrides', is probably best known for its peaty, smoky whiskies. Some say they are the best in the whole world. Home to eight working distilleries, Islay definitely has the process of making the stuff down to a fine art. Even if whisky's not your drink of choice, Islay still promises an amazing experience with its birdlife, seafood and dramatic coastal seascapes.
Peat is still cut from the mosslands, giving the 'Islay malts' their distinct flavours. The island is perfectly placed for whisky production, with its pure water source, sea spray and fertile lands for growing barley. The distilleries welcome visitors to watch the production process and, even better, sample their delights.