Lagavulin (pronounced “lagga-voo-lin”) is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. The distillery officially dates from 1816, but records have shown that illicit distilling took place on the site from about 1742, the perpetrators of these heinous criminal acts taking full advantage of the fact that there was no excise officer operating on the island at the time.
Like its neighbour Laphroaig, one either loves or hates Lagavulin. The whisky forms part of the Classic Malts range by Diageo, and indeed it is a classic representative of Islay – powerful and peaty, with those wonderful seaweed and iodine flavours coming through strongly. But, with a different water source to Laphroaig, unusual pear-shaped stills, and a lengthy distillation and maturation process, Lagavulin can possibly be said to be Laproaig’s softer, mellower, rounder and slightly sweeter relative. That doesn’t make it better. Nor does it make it worse. It just makes it different.
Fans of each brand will, however, argue passionately for their particular preference. So fanatic are devotees that the battle of the brands has been described as a “religious war”. More prosaically, it has been likened to the war between Coke and Pepsi. Me, I’m a tolerant soul, and find it easy (oh so easy!) to allow both brands a space in my whisky cabinet. Life’s too short to limit yourself to only one of the two.
Apart from its single malt bottlings, Lagavulin is also a major component of the White Horse blended whisky, having been owned at one point in its history by Peter Mackie, the creator of the blend.
General Tasting Notes
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Distillery Contact Information
Address: Port Ellen, Islay, PA42 7DZ
Tel: +44 (0)1496 30 2400
Fax: +44 (0)1496 30 2733
Tours: The distillery is open all year (apart from over the festive season). Guided tours take place Monday to Friday, and are by appointment only. Telephone the distillery to book.
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