How To Read A Lagavulin Label

An auctioneers' guide to the much loved Islay single malt whisky.

How To Read A Lagavulin Label

With over 120 different expressions of Lagavulin on offer in our January 2020 auction, we thought it was the perfect time to start putting together a list of Lagavulin distillery bottlings.

Lagavulin distillery was founded in 1816 on the South coast of Islay at Lagavulin Bay, close to Dunyvaig Castle. Founder John Johnston took over a second distillery on the same site which was absorbed into Lagavulin in 1837.

The distillery was purchased by whisky blender John Logan Mackie in 1862, and his nephew, Peter J Mackie, would go on to become a prominent figure in the whisky trade in the late 19th century. In addition to running Lagavulin, he co-founded Craigellachie distillery and created the White Horse blend which was launched in 1890. The company changed its name to Mackie & Co. in the same year.

Following a dispute with neighbouring Laphroaig distillery (whose whisky used to supply Lagavulin’s blends), Mackie built Malt Mill distillery in 1908. With stills modelled on those found at Laphroaig, Malt Mill contributed to blends including Mackie’s Ancient Scotch and White Horse, but was never bottled as a single malt. Malt Mill closed in 1962 and its equipment was incorporated into Lagavulin. When Peter Mackie died in 1924, the company changed its name to White Horse Distillers. It became part of Distillers Company Limited in 1927.

In 1988, Lagavulin 16 Year Old was selected as Islay’s representative in the Classic Malts range. Although owner United Distillers thought the distillery’s heavily-peated character would deter the average whisky drinker, the malt became a runaway success.

From the early 2000s, a cask strength Lagavulin 12 Year Old has become a constant feature in Diageo’s annual Special Releases, and the Distillers Edition vintage series saw Lagavulin’s peat smoke tempered by Pedro Ximenez cask finishing.

Lagavulin distillery celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2016 by releasing an 8 Year Old expression as well as a limited number of its 25 Year Old to raise money for Islay charities.

 

 

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Lagavulin 12 Years Old Natural Cask Strength, Diageo Special Releases

 

The first bottling of Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength was launched as part of Diageo’s Special Releases in 2002. They continue to be released annually and the design remained virtually unchanged until 2019.

 

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2002 First Release, 58% ABV

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2002 Second Release, 57.8% ABV

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2003 Release, 57.8% ABV

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2004 Release, 58.2% ABV

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2005 Release, 57.7% ABV

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2006 Release, 57.5% ABV

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2007 Release, 56.4% ABV

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2008 Release, 56.4% ABV

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2009 Release, 57.9% ABV

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2010 Release, 56.5% ABV

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2011 Release, 57.5% ABV

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2012 Release, 56.1% ABV

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2013 Release, 55.1% ABV

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2014 Release, 54.4% ABV

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2015 Release, 56.8% ABV

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2016 Release, 200th Anniversary, 57.7% ABV

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2017 Release, 56.5% ABV

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2018 Release, 57.8% ABV

 

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 2019 Release, 56.5% ABV

 

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Lagavulin, Diageo Special Releases

 

As well as the annual 12 Year Old cask strength bottling, there have been a number of older age statement bottlings of Lagavulin released as part of the Diageo Special Releases.

 

 

Lagavulin 25 Year Old, 2002 Release, 57.2% ABV

9000 bottles

 

Lagavulin 1976 30 Year Old, 2006 Release, 52.6% ABV

2340 bottles

 

Lagavulin 1985 21 Year Old, 2007 Release, 56.5% ABV

6642 bottles

 

Lagavulin 1991 21 Year Old, 2012 Release, 52% ABV

2772 bottles

 

Lagavulin 1976 37 Year Old, 2013 Release, 51% ABV

1868 bottles

 

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Lagavulin Feis Ile

 

The annual Feis Ile festival on Islay began in the mid 1980s to revive the Gaelic language and culture. What was once a Gaelic dance festival has now developed into full-blown celebration of Islay culture and distilleries. The first release of Lagavulin’s Feis Ile Single Cask came in 2007. The final single cask was bottled in 2012, after which the Lagavulin Feis Ile release was bottled from a vatting of casks.

 

 

Lagavulin 1993, Bottled 2007, Cask 4893, 56.5% ABV

708 bottles

 

Lagavulin 1993, Bottled 2008, Cask 1403, 52.9% ABV

580 bottles

 

Lagavulin 1995, Bottled 2009, Cask 4456, 54.4% ABV

660 bottles

 

Lagavulin 1994, Bottled 2010, Cask 3210, 52.7% ABV

528 bottles

 

Lagavulin 1998, Bottled 2011, Cask 1715, 51% ABV

588 bottles

 

Lagavulin 1998, Bottled 2012, Cask 1716, 55.1% ABV

 

Lagavulin 1995, Bottled 2013, 51% ABV

3000 bottles

 

Lagavulin 1995, Bottled 2014, 54.7% ABV

3500 bottles

 

Lagavulin 1991, Bottled 2015, 59.9% ABV

3500 bottles

 

Lagavulin 18 Year Old, Bottled 2016, 200th Anniversary, 49.5% ABV

6000 bottles

 

Lagavulin 16 Year Old, Bottled 2017, 56.1% ABV

6000 bottles

 

Lagavulin 18 Year Old, Bottled 2018, 53.9% ABV

6000 bottles

 

Lagavulin 19 Year Old, Bottled 2019, 53.8% ABV

6000 bottles

 

 

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Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival

 

The annual Islay Jazz Festival is promoted by Jazz Scotland and the Islay Arts Association and is sponsored by Lagavulin. The first festival edition was released in 2011. The bottlings switched from single casks to vattings after 2012.

 

 

Lagavulin 1993, Bottled 2011, Cask 356, 55.4% ABV

576 bottles

 

Lagavulin 1997, Bottled 2012, Cask 1894, 54.5% ABV

624 bottles

 

Lagavulin 1995, Bottled 2013, 51.9% ABV

1500 bottles

 

Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival 2015, 55.4% ABV

3500 bottles

 

Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival 2016, 200th Anniversary, 54.5% ABV

6000 bottles

 

Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival 2017, 57.6% ABV

6000 bottles

 

Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival 2018, 58.5% ABV

6000 bottles

 

Lagavulin 21 Year Old Islay Jazz Festival 2019, 50.9% ABV

2004 bottles