Lagavulin like most whisky distilleries on Islay sits on the coast for ease of taking in supply and shipping out product. Lagavulin is sandwiched in between Ardbeg and Laphroaig distilleries on the south coast of the Island. Like almost all ancient whisky distilleries Lagavulin started life as an illicit distillery possibly as early as 1742 however was establish legally by John Johnston a local farmer under the name Kildalton in 1816. In 1817 just one year Archibald Campbell founded Lagavulin a 2nd distillery at the same location. After Johnston’s death in 1825 his major creditor Alexander Graham (a Glasgow whisky merchant) took ownership of Lagavulin and he merged both whisky distilleries. By the time James Logan Mackie & Co took ownership there was just one Lagavulin whisky distillery However after the death of Mackie in 1924 Lagavulin went into the corporate world when acquired by White Horse Distillers. Like many distilleries this was start of ownership changing hands as the result of takeovers and mergers, first with Scottish Malt Distillers in 1930 then UDV and finally Diageo.
Lagavulin has today like many Islay peated whiskies a huge following and has won numerous awards however it does divide scotch whisky drinkers who either love it or hate it. Personally I fall into the love it category with the cask strength edition available at the distillery being one of the best whiskies I have ever tasted.
Taste: Simply brilliant, a very distinct single malt whisky with the usual Islay smokiness but more complex with sherry and a little saltiness. It manages to be oily and dry at the same time a top drawer whisky.
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