- Pronunciation: laga- VOOL-inn
- Meaning: hollow by the hill
- Founded: 1816
- Region: Islay
- Status: Operational
- Owner: Diageo
- Production Capacity: 2,350,000 litres a year
Located on the south east corner of the island of Islay and neighboured in the east by Ardbeg and in the west by Laphroaig, Lagavulin is one of Scotlands many distilleries to have a start date shrouded in mystery. Many believe that illicit distillation was done on the site from 1742 onwards. In its early years, the site hosted two distilleries, the other believed to be called “Kildalton”.This was merged with Lagavulin in 1837. Ardmore distillery was also on the same bay but in 1837 they also merged with the others, creating the single distillery that is there today.
In 1908 there was yet another distillery built on the site. This was called Malt Mill, famously mentioned in the Hollywood blockbuster Angel’s Share. The distillery survived until 1962, when it also merged with Lagavulin becoming what is now their visitor centre.
Lagavulin is one of Diageo's Classic malts and has a rich peaty character. It is mostly matured in ex-European oak sherry casks. As part of the original six Classic Malts, a Lagavulin Distillers Edition is released every year,and has been since 1997. Each release tends to be very well reviewed, as the combination of Pedro Ximénez sherry finish and big peat character is a hit with most palates.
Older aged bottles of Lagavulin are few and far between. Both the 1976 30 year old (released in 2006) and the 1985 21 year old (released in 2007) are highly collectible.
A more recent 21 year old, bottled in 2012 was released – equally highly praised! Bottles from the past are common in auctions as well, notably the old 12 year old White Horse bottlings.
Currently there are two exclusive Lagavulin released every year, only available at the distillery. The Islay festival bottling (Feis ile) and the Islay Jazz festival bottling (Lagavulin sponsors the event). As small, exclusive releases of Lagavulin are very rare and limited these are big temptations for all.