Malt Mill distillery

Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

One of the more colourful lost distilleries, Malt Mill produced a peated whisky that contributed to some of Mackie & Co., and White Horse Distillers’ blends, including White Horse and Mackie’s Ancient Scotch.

Malt Mill shared Lagavulin’s mash tun, but has two washbacks and two pear-shaped stills of its own, modelled after those at Laphroaig. 

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  • Region
    Islay
  • Production type
    Single malt
  • Distillery Status
    Demolished

Malt Mill History

Malt Mill was born in 1908 from an acrimonious falling out between the owners of Lagavulin and Laphroaig.

At the start of the 20th century Lagavulin owner Peter Mackie was also agent for neighbouring distillery Laphroaig though his company, Mackie & Co. The commercial agreement stayed in place for many decades, however, the death of Laphroaig owner Alex Johnston in 1907 brought his nephew, Ian Hunter, to the island.

Hunter, a newly qualified engineer, was disappointed by the state of the agency agreement. He felt Laphroaig was not getting the best returns since Mackie was demanding most of the distillery’s output for its own blends. What ensued was a bitter court case, in which Mackie lost the right to represent Laphroaig.

So enraged, Mackie went so far as to block Laphroaig’s water supply, which resulted in a second court case to get it restored.

Ultimately, Mackie built a replica of Laphroaig distillery within Lagavulin called Malt Mill, and even pinched Laphroaig’s head brewer to ensure the spirit produced was exactly the same as his neighbour’s. Of course it wasn’t. It wasn’t Lagavulin either.

Malt Mill’s whisky was used as a contribution to the company’s blends, most notably White Horse and Mackie’s Ancient Scotch, which featured the name of the distillery on the label. It was never – as far as historians know – bottled as a single malt.

The distillery was eventually closed in 1962, its equipment incorporated into Lagavulin.

The last remaining monuments of the distillery are its maltings, which shut in 1974 and were converted into a reception centre for VIP visitors, and one solitary sample bottle of new make spirit from Malt Mill’s last spirit run. It is currently on display in Lagavulin’s visitor centre.

A mythical cask of Malt Mill played a pivotal role in Ken Loach’s 2012 hit film, The Angel’s Share.

Timeline

  • 1908 Malt Mill is built within the grounds of Lagavulin
  • 1927 The distillery, along with Lagavulin, becomes part of Distillers Company Ltd. (DCL)
  • 1962 Malt Mill is closed permanently, its equipment absorbed by Lagavulin
  • 1974 The distillery maltings are closed and later refurbished as a VIP reception centre
  • 2012 A mythical cask of Malt Mill whisky appears in the film, The Angel's Share

Owners

Current owner

Previous owners

Contact

Address
Malt Mill Distillery
Port Ellen
Isle of Islay
Argyll
PA42 7DZ
United Kingdom
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See also

  • Lagavulin Lagavulin Lagavulin Distillery & brand

    Lagavulin

    Diageo's Islay distillery produces a smoky, coastal malt, and was once home to the famed Malt Mill.

  • White Horse Distillers White Horse Distillers White Horse Distillers Distiller & blender

    White Horse Distillers

    Owner of Lagavulin and Craigellachie distilleries that evolved out of Mackie & Co.

  • Mackie & Co Mackie & Co Mackie & Co Distiller & blender

    Mackie & Co

    Once owner of Lagavulin distillery and creator of the globally successful White Horse blend.

  • Ardbeg Ardbeg Ardbeg Distillery & brand

    Ardbeg

    Ardbeg is one of Islay's sweetest malts.

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