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The History Of Lagavulin

People and places don't just shape a Single Malt Scotch Whisky's flavour. They change the course of its future. Get a taste of how the whisky you love today came to be, with this brief Lagavulin timeline.

1742

1742

Lagavulin is said to be one of the oldest distilleries on Islay, consisting originally of 10 small illicit distilleries.

1816

1816

Local farmer and distiller John Johnston converts the buildings into a legal distillery and names it Lagavulin, the first legal operation in the area.

1817

1817

A second distillery appeared, known as Malt Mill, run by one Archibald Campbell. It is later subsumed by Lagavulin.

1836

1836

John Johnston dies and Alexander Graham, Glasgow spirit merchant, acquires the distillery.

1861

1861

The lease for Lagavulin Distillery and farm changes hands, falling under the control of James L Mackie & Co, the company formed by James Mackie in partnership with the surviving member of the Graham family, Captain Graham.

1878

1878

J. L. Mackie brings his nephew Peter J. Mackie into the business and Peter makes the first of many trips to Lagavulin to learn the secrets of distilling.

1887

1887

James Logan Mackie & Co succeed Graham & Co.

1890

1890

Peter succeeds as senior partner, and it is under his guidance that Lagavulin will become a household name. Mackie is better known to colleagues and staff as “Restless Pete”, said to live by the maxim ‘Nothing is Impossible’. The name of the firm changes to Mackie & Co.

1908

1908

Mackie decides to restore two buildings on site, believed to be former still house and store, to their former use, under the name of Malt Mill.

1924

1924

Mackie dies and Mackie & Co becomes White Horse Distillers Ltd. The S.S. Pibroch, a Clyde ‘Puffer’ enters service to transport barley, coal and empty casks to Lagavulin, returning with filled casks of Lagavulin.

1927

1927

White Horse Distillers and Lagavulin join the Distillers Company Limited.

1939

1939

With the advent of war, women are drafted in to work the distillery until 1941 when the distillery finally closed for the duration.

1948

1948

Electricity is introduced to the distillery.

1962

1962

Malt Mill finally closes, but a precious sample of this fabled whisky is kept safe at Lagavulin Distillery.

1974

1974

Lagavulin closes its malting floors and buys in from Port Ellen Maltings.