Lagavulin Distillery – Offerman Approved

​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.

Lagavulin whisky distillery, Isle of Islay, on the shores of Lagavulin Bay. This picture was taken ​from Dunyvaig Castle, an ancient strong-hold and naval base of Clan MacDonald, and a short walk from the distillery.​

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

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​Lagavulin Whisky

​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).

Purple toned black and white photograph of the tasting room and library at Lagavulin Distillery.

Lagavulin Whisky at Lagavulin Distillery. From Left to Right, bottles and boxes of:​ Lagavulin 16, Lagavulin Distillers Edition, Lagavulin 12 and Lagavulin 8.

​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: lagavulin.distillery@diageo.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

Lagavulin Distillery, Islay, Scotland. Golden toned black and white photograph.

Purple toned photograph of the Lagavulin Visitor Centre Branded Merchandise/Gift Room

Lagavulin's Porteus Patent Malt Mill, Machine No. MM-RB-15, Date: 16-3-1963. Maintained by Ronnie Lee

Lagavulin's Porteus Patent Malt Mill, Machine No. MM-RB-15, Date: 16-3-1963. Maintained by Ronnie Lee

Lagavulin's Porteus Patent Malt Mill, Machine No. MM-RB-15, Date: 16-3-1963. Maintained by Ronnie Lee

Purple toned photograph of the Lagavulin Distillery Mash Tun

Malted barley, ground into grist, then addd to hot water in the Mash Tun at Lagavulin Distillery.

Six of the ten washbacks at Lagavulin Distillery, Islay, Scotland. Soft colour photograph.

Six of the ten washbacks at Lagavulin Distillery, Islay, Scotland. Golden toned soft colour photograph.

Lagavulin Distillery Wash Stills. They measure almost 7m in height. 10,800 litres of wort/wash is used to charge each wash stills per cycle. The charge for the wash stills less than that for the spirit stills (typically it's the other way around).

Lagavulin Distillery's Pear-Shaped Wash Stills. They measure almost 7m in height. 10,800 litres of wort/wash is used to charge each wash stills per cycle. The charge for the wash stills less than that for the spirit stills (typically it's the other way around)

Lagavulin Distillery Wash Stills. They measure almost 7m in height. 10,800 litres of wort/wash is used to charge each wash stills per cycle. The charge for the wash stills less than that for the spirit stills (typically it's the other way around).

The pear shaped spirit stills at Lagavulin Distillery

Lagavulin Distillery No. 2 Spirits and Feints Bowl​.

Lagavulin Distillery No. 1 Spirits and Feints Bowl.

The Lagavulin Spirit Safe Low Wines/Wash Still Bowls.

Sepia toned black and white photograph of Lagavulin Distillery, Islay, Scotland. Photograph which shows the front of the distillery, the Lagavulin sign and the post box. 

​What ​Else ​Is ​Nearby

​References & ​Further ​Reading

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