Port Ellen, Islay, Argyll
Owning Company: White Horse Distillers, Glasgow
Water Source: Solum Lochs
Location: Occupying a site of six acres, at the head of a small bay near the south coast of Islay.
Visitors Centre: Open all year, Tel: (Scotland) 01496 2250.
Daily opening hours: Mon to Fri.
Situated in a small bay near the south coast of Islay, Lagavulin stands near the ruins of Dunyveg Castle. It was from here that 1,000 Islaymen set sail to fight alongside Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn in 1314, and in this bay the Macdonalds maintained their power base as Lords of the Isles until they were finally driven out by the Campbells three centuries later.
Lagavulin legitimately claims to be one of the oldest distilleries in
Scotland. Distilling on the site is thought to date from as early as 1742. In the late 1700s
it is believed that there were up to ten illicit stills operating in the district. But by the 1830s only
two distilleries remained in the bay. In 1837 these distilleries amalgamated to form Lagavulin.
At this stage the distillery was under the ownership of the Graham brothers and James Logan Mackie, uncle of Sir Peter Mackie who later became one of the 'big five' in the whisky industry.
The Distillery Today
By 1875 Lagavulin was producing 75,000 gallons of whisky. It was chosen by United Distillers for their Classic Malts series in 1988/89 and is now more widely available.