Lagavulin is one of the three Kildalton Distilleries in the south of Islay and sits comfortably in between Ardbeg and Laphroaig at the "Hollow by the Mill", translated from the Gaelic lag a'mhuilin. Lagavulin is pronounced as La-ga-voolin
Lagavulin Distillery officially dates from 1816, though records show illicit distillation on the site as far back as 1742. Originally there were two distilleries operating on this site, the first established in 1816 believed to be named "Kildalton", and the second in 1817 named Lagavulin. There were also other small distilleries on the same site, Malt Mill Distillery and Ardmore Distillery.
By 1837 there was only the one distillery, "Lagavulin" occupied by Donald Johnston. The still house was rebuilt in 1962 and incorporated the stills of the Malt Mill Distillery and in 1996 a new mashtun was installed, and automated controls put in place. The visitor centre dates back to 1998 and was established in the buildings that once were the maltings and kiln of Malt Mill Distillery.
Lagavulin Single Malt Whisky is characterized by its strong peat flavour and iodine overtones. The iodine flavour tends to divide tasters into love it or hate it groups with no middle ground, and it may not be suitable for new Scotch drinkers. The standard Lagavulin single malt is 16 years old, though they have also released a 12 year old cask strength variety, as well as their Distiller's edition, finished in Pedro-Ximenez casks. Phenol levels running at 40 p.p.m.
Lagavulin is produced by White Horse Distillers which is owned by United Distillers & Vinters which in turn is owned by Diageo plc. Lagavulin was chosen to represent Islay Single Malts in UDV's Classic Malts of Scotland.