Two and a half miles past the town of Port Ellen, nestled in the stony heather-covered hills, you'll discover one of Islay's oldest distillation sites, the picturesque Lagavulin Distillery. Situated on the shores of Lagavulin Bay, and the middle child of Islay's south-side-of-the-island trio, Lagavulin Distillery is a 15-20 min walk (1.2mi) past Laphroaig and a further 15-20 min walk (1.2mi) from Ardbeg.
How to Pronounce Lagavulin
How to pronounce Lagavulin, courtesy of Brian Cox ...
"Lagavulin; the cognac of whiskies. Works like a depth charge ... pow." - Brian Cox via @Esquire
While generally not as iodine-intense as its neighbouring distilleries Laphroaig and Ardbeg, the flavours of Lagavulin Whisky still pack a punch on the palate. "It's like drinking a campfire," says Nick Offerman when describing the Lagavulin 16. The smooth, rich smokiness of a Lagavulin whisky is likened to 'a depth charge' by Brian Cox, and is considered "mothers milk" by some (myself included).
Ron Swanson / Nick Offerman & Lagavulin Whisky
Whether you're a fan of the TV programme 'Parks and Recreation' or not, if you're a fan of Lagavulin, there's a good chance you've seen Nick Offerman (or his Park's character Ron Swanson) espousing his joy for Lagavulin whisky. Diageo paired up with Nick for a series of on-brand/on-character promotions for Lagavulin that showcase the distillery and the whisky beautifully. My favourite is "Yule Log", a 45-minute video of Nick Offerman sitting in a cosy leather armchair, occasionally taking a sip of Lagavulin as the fire crackles beside him. It's not exactly edge of your seat entertainment, but I love its simplicity. It would make an excellent screen saver. If you'd like to see the key highlights rather than watch the full 45 minutes, there's a play by play in the first comment on youtube.
The series includes some excellent footage of Lagavulin Distillery, such as in the episode 'Message in a Bottle' (one method of acquiring Lagavulin Whisky).
Where is Lagavulin Distillery?
Lagavulin Distillery is located in the wee village of Lagavulin (it pretty much IS the village of Lagavulin), on the beautiful Isle of Islay, 2.6 miles from the Port Ellen Ferry Terminal.
Lagavulin Distillery Tours, Pricing & Bookings
For bookings Tel: 01496 302749 or email: email@example.com. Bookings are highly advisable to avoid disappointment.
All Tour and Tasting Options include a £5 discount voucher off the purchase of a 70cl single malt whisky (exclusions apply) and a complimenary Lagavulin glass for you to take home.
Lagavulin Distillery Tour - £6 - for a guided tour of the distillery followed by one (1) dram of from the core Lagavulin range.
Core Range Tasting Tour - £15 - combine a 30-minute tour with a 30-minute tasting. Wander through the production areas with your expert guide, followed by a tasting of the Lagavulin core range which includes the Lagavulin 16yo, Lagavulin Distillers Edition and the cask strength Lagavulin 12 year old.
Warehouse Demonstration - £25 - this experience examines the journey of Lagavulin's spirit through the maturation process. This warehouse tasting starts with a younger Lagavulin and works through samples drawn in front of you, from Lagavulin's duty paid casks. Lagavulin Legend, Iain MacArthur, will host most days.
Sensory Tasting Experience- £35 - to celebrate their bicentenary in 2016, Lagavulin created an exclusive Lagavulin tasting kit available only at the distillery. Complete with five (5) whisky samples and 7 aromas and flavours, the kit allows you to delve into the character of the whisky as your guide talks you through the process of bringing Lagavulin to life. You'll be given a kit of your own to take home and experience whenever it suits you.
As with all Diageo distilleries, photos are not allowed in production areas, which is most of the distillery. No, it’s not because they think you’ll try and steal their ideas or equipment design! Ethanol is highly flammable, and electronic equipment poses a potential source of ignition. As such, they’ve implemented a policy on all their sites – no electronic devices to be in use in production areas, or where ethanol is likely to be in higher concentrations (like warehouses).
For healthy and safety reasons, the distillery does not permit children under eight years old in the production areas.
For more information on tours and distillery opening hours see https://www.malts.com/en-au/distilleries/lagavulin/
Lagavulin Distillery Images
What Else Is Nearby
References & Further Reading
- Alfred Barnard, The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom, 2008 Edition, first published in 1887 by Harpers Weekly Gazette
- Ian Buxton, Whiskies Galore : A Tour of Scotland's Island Distilleries, 2018 Edition
- Neil Wilson, The Island Whisky Trail : An Illustrated Guide to the Hebridean Whisky Distilleries, 2003 Edition