Situated on the banks of Lagavulin Bay on the island of Islay, Lagavulin Distillery is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. Distilling took place on the banks of Lagavulin Bay as early as 1742, and by the turn of the century, there were as many as ten illicit stills operating in the area. In 1816, John Johnson founded the first legal distillery on the site, and within a year Archibald Campbell had opened a second. After Johnson’s death, Alexander Graham acquired Johnston’s distillery for £1,100 and eventually united the two distilleries together under the Lagavulin name. Since that time, the rich, peaty water that runs down the brown burn and through the Solan Lochs into the hills just next to Lagavulin Bay has served as the lifeblood of the distillery.
Lagavulin Single Malt Scotch Whisky is known as one of the most intense, smoky single malt whiskies ever made – the peated barley used to create Lagavulin Single Malt has up to twenty times as much exposure to peat smoke as compared to typical Scotches. After the grains used to make Lagavulin whisky are malted at nearby Port Ellen, they are peated, milled and mashed before being fermented for approximately 72 hours.
Then, the whisky is distilled twice – first through a wash still for approximately five hours and then again through a spirit distill for approximately nine hours. This is the slowest distillation process of any Islay distillery, and gives Lagavulin its characteristic round flavors and mellow edges.
Following distillation, Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition Single Malt Scotch Whisky (2013 Release) is matured in traditional oak casks in the distillery’s warehouses. During its maturation, Iain McArthur, Lagavulin’s warehouseman, ensures that the whisky matures evenly and consistently (McArthur has been working at the distillery for over four decades). After the whisky has matured in traditional oak casks, it is double-barreled, or finished, in casks that were previously used to mature sherry made from Pedro Ximinez grapes. Once harvested, Pedro Ximinez grapes shrivel up to a raisin-like state, which concentrates the sugars in the grape and results in a sweet wine with legendary viscosity and intensity. This double-maturation process complements the intensely smoky notes of the whisky and adds an additional layer of complexity.
Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition Single Malt Scotch has an aroma of intense raisins, prunes and smoke. The initial notes are surprisingly sweet, with subtle hints of caramel, vanilla and dates that are balanced by a smoky undertone. The ever-lasting finish has deep, dark notes of red fruits and a round, bold finish.
Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition Single Malt Scotch is a limited release bottling.
Pick one up while you can!