130 yr old Islay Whisky Returns Home

One of the world’s rarest bottles of Single Malt Scotch Whisky returned home to Lagavulin Distillery on 2 June 2011. The exceptional 130-year old unopened bottle of “Lagavulin Liqueur” contains single malt whisky that was distilled at Lagavulin Distillery on Islay on 2 June 1881. After an extraordinary 30 years in cask, the single malt was bottled on 2 June 1911 by Mackie & Co of Glasgow, then owners of Lagavulin Distillery and a firm with a long tradition of supplying Islay malts.

It was rare for 19th century whiskies to be offered as single malts – most found their way into blended whisky – but according to Alfred Barnard, celebrated author of The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom (published 1887), “there are only a few of the Scotch distillers that turn out spirit for use as single whiskies, and that made at Lagavulin can claim to be one of the most prominent“. continue reading....

This precious bottle was acquired at auction by Diageo and forms part of the comprehensive Diageo spirits industry Archive. It was recently exhibited at the Visitors Centre at Royal Lochnagar distillery on Deeside. But on 2 June, Donald Renwick, the distillery manager at Royal Lochnagar and former distillery manager at Lagavulin, travelled to Islay to carry the bottle back home, where it has been deposited in an ultra-secure display case in the Visitors Centre.

The handover at Lagavulin Distillery took place on the 100th anniversary of the bottling, and the 130th anniversary of its distilling, to the exact day. Donald Renwick was accompanied on his journey to Islay by two other former Lagavulin distillery managers, Peter Campbell and John Thomson, who joined him in handing the bottle into the safekeeping of the distillery’s present manager, Georgie Crawford.

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