"Decanter" magazine compared the relationship of Lagavulin and Laphroaig on Islay with that of Cheval Blanc and Petrus in Bordeaux. In name at least Lagavulin must be Cheval Blanc as it contributes whisky to the White Horse blends and the animal decorates the distillery sign. At a glance the cream- painted distillery buildings could be an inn called the White Horse. The distillery's water arrives by way of a fast-flowing stream that no doubt picks up plenty of peat on the way. The maturation warehouses are battered by the sea and have their own jetty. When the seas are high, Lagavulin's outer walls are knee-high in salt water.
Lagavulin (pronounced "Lagga-voolin")
means "the hollow where the mill is" and
two ancient millstones survive to this day among other incongruous stones
around the site.
There are reputed to have been 10 illicit stills on this bay in the mid 1700s,
not least because by a curious twist of fate, Islay was the only place in
Scotland where no Excise officer operated between 1707 and 1823.
Lagavulin went legal in 1816 and there were certainly two distilleries here
in the early 1800s, combining in the 1830s. By 1875 Lagavulin
was producing 75,000 gallons of whisky and in 1890 it was bought by Mackie & Co
of Glasgow. Lagavulin became the distillery of
"Restless Peter" Mackie, creator of the "White Horse" blend.
Lagavulin uses Larch wood washbacks and individual onion-shaped stills with
unique steep swan-necked lye pipes which the distillers claim profoundly
affect the taste and refuse to change in any way.
Port Ellen, Islay, PA42 7DZ
Tel: 01496-2250 and 01496-2400
Hear "Lagavulin" pronounced in AU or WAV format
Search Dr. Do'g's index for the history of Lagavulin
There just might be some news about Lagavulin in The "Scotsman" newspaper