Lagavulin distillery is located on the south shore of Islay at Port Ellen and is a direct neighbour to the Ardbeg and Laphroaig distilleries.

It was founded by John Johnston in 1816 (just one year after its two neighbours).

I believe another distillery was built right alongside Lagavulin a year later in 1817 by Archibald Campbell, which was called Ardmore (yes, really). Anyway, in 1825 he took over Ardmore and in 1835 closed it, leaving only Lagavulin running on the site.


John Graham took over Lagavulin in 1852 and it was then passed into the hands of James Logan Mackie & Co. in 1867. 1878 saw Peter Mackie (nephew to James) join the distillery and when James died in 1889, Peter took over the running of Lagavulin.

In 1890 Peter founded White Horse blended whisky and then in 1908 he tried to get one over on Laphroaig by commissioning two new stills which were supposedly exact replicas of those at neighbouring Laphroaig distillery. He named this Malt Mill distillery but this was finally dismantled in 1962.

DCL took over Lagavulin in 1927, then transferred it to SMD in 1930 (DCL & SMD eventually becoming Diageo, the owners today) and in 1962, when Malt Mill was finally dismantled, they fully renovated Lagavulin.


Distillery photo  by Whisky Emporium photography


More great distillery info here thanks to Malt Madness



  Lagavulin (OB)   General whisky characteristics: Peat, smoke, sea-air, smoked kippers & fruit  

Lagavulin, (OB), 16y, 43% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Rich, dark gold

Nose: Very heavy, I'm stuck in a peat bog on Islay right alongside the Atlantic and steadily sinking whilst someone throws smoked kippers (herring) at me and I only have an old leather strap to fend them off.

Palate: Extremely smooth and gently opening to very peaty embers which warm the tongue in a quite sweet and almost fruity way.

With 4 drops of water in 2cl: The nose remains much the same but the palate has more immediate peat & smoke and the fruit comes much later.

Finish: Medium to long, peaty, smoky and very warming. Longer with the 4 drops of water.

Overall Impression: For some reason I can't remember I never used to get along with Lagavulin 16, but after an absence of some years this was a pleasant surprise today and one which I shall explore further. A real Winter warmer!



Lagavulin, (OB), 16y, 43% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich golden amber

Nose: Immediate wood with hints of traditional wax furniture polish. This expands to a slightly toasted version after 2-3 minutes, then hints of junior school plimsoles (gym shoes). Overall very warm and soothing.

Palate: Very creamy mouth-feel with faint wood and fruity smoke. Always soothing and gentle. Do I detect a sherry influence with some figs?

Finish: Long rich and smooth

Overall Impression: Excellent! An extremely drinkable whisky.



Lagavulin, (OB), Distiller's Edition 1993, 43% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich old oak, dark amber

Nose: If you could imagine an orchard in the middle of a peat bog right on the Atlantic coast! Heavy peat with almost no (wood) smoke. Hints of sea-air with an underlying fruitiness.

Palate: Rich toasted fruit and peat in an almost perfect combination. The fruit is almost summer fruit, as in apricot and peach with a hint of citrus, but totally overwhelmed by that wonderfully rich peat.

Finish: Long with a warming ricness of flavour and right on the front of the tongue.

Overall Impression: I could really get used to this and become a fan! Excellent.



Lagavulin, (OB), Distiller's Edition 1993, 43% ABV

Distilled 1993, bottled 2009

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Glowing amber

Nose: An initial explosion of peat settles to find some rich fruitiness and then opens further with glowing bonfire embers on an Atlantic coastal beach. In fact this finally settles to an Atlantic beach BBQ!

Palate: There's definitely plenty of fruit including peach, watermelon and raisins alongside the peaty beach bonfire.

Finish: Long, peaty and fruity but slightly thin.

Overall Impression: Very enjoyable. A thoroughly good whisky.



Lagavulin, (OB), Limited Edition 12y, 56.5% ABV

Bottled 2010, Natural Cask Strength

Typical cost of this bottle;

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale

Nose: Atlantic coastal freshness, but becoming more earthy with time in glass. A solid peatiness then gently unfolds as the minutes pass, eventually becoming slightly antiseptic. The peat then just keeps expanding.

Palate: Warming peat, very warming. A very welcome and solid earthiness with lots of depth. I'm almost imagining swimming in an Atlantic peaty lido!

Finish: Long, warming and glowing

Overall Impression: Excellent, truly excellent. In fact it was almost awarded 'Greatness', but just not quite.





Independent Bottlers (IB)


The Whisky Exchange "Lg1", 56.8% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle;

"Dram-atics" live review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale yellow

Nose: This is an initially subdued nose which requires some time to develop, but after 5-10 minutes it produces aromatic peat, freshly cut wood and a hint of rubber.

Palate: There's lots of peat here, but too much alcohol burn and it needs water.

With 4 drops of water: Both wood and peat are intensified on nose and palate.

With 4 more drops: Some lovely Atlantic maritime elements now join the wood and peat.

A further 4 drops: allow liquorice to develop on the palate and into the finish.

Finish: Long and intense with liquorice after addition of water.

Overall Impression: This is a whisky which needs time, water and patience but when afforded these, it rewards accordingly. A fine whisky.












Copyright 2009-2015 by Keith Wood - All rights reserved - Whisky-Emporium / Whisky-Emporium is not responsible for the content of external websites