John Johnston found the Lagavulin distillery in 1816. On the south-eastern side of Islay, it is one of the renowned makers of peated whisky, along with Laphroaig and Ardberg. Its whiskies are salty, smokey, powerful and altogether wonderful. It is by no means a large distillery, which can lead to some difficulty in finding their more rare whiskies, such as older bottlings of the Distiller’s Edition. Its size may surprise people who visit it considering its grand reputation.
Lagavulin’s distillation process is the slowest in Scotland, which supposedly is responsible for the roundness of flavor – a difficult achievement when the peat provides so much punch.
The Lagavulin range is really quite small, restricted to a 12 year old, 16 year old, a variation on the 16 year old called the Distiller’s Edition, and a 21 year old. The 16 year old is the most famous and celebrated of them all and is one of the ‘go to’ peated whiskies.