THE SIGNATURE COLLECTION / BEYOND
The courage that will lead you beyond.
The sea swells its waves,
the storm is approaching.
Yet your heart is filled with courage,
even as the storm rumbles in your breast.
Region: Islay, Scotland
Age: 22 years old
Cask: bourbon first fill
Lagavulin lies in a small sheltered bay in the south of Islay in front of the ruins of Dunyveg Castle. The distillery sits in between Ardbeg and Laphroaig, at the "Hollow by the Mill", from the Gaelic lag a'mhuilin, from which it draws its name: Lagavulin.
Surrounded by one of the most romantic landscapes, Lagavulin is also one of the oldest distilleries in the very heart of Islay, forever whipped by the wind that carries with it all the fragrances from the sea. Like many Scottish distilleries, its origins involve the illegal production and smuggling of whisky.
Allegedly, just where Lagavulin now stands, there was a production of whisky dating back as early as 1742. Then, a century later, John Johnston started a legal distillery in 1816.
This is where things become interesting. The distillery owned by Johnston was actually named Kildalton. Then, the year after, another distillery named Lagavulin was constructed just alongside Kildalton. Eventually, the two distilleries merged in 1837 to become the Lagavulin we know today.
Lavagulin become popular around 1890, when Peter Mackie, owner of the distillery at the time, created the White Horse blend, using Lagavulin’s whisky as its core ingredient.
Today, Lagavulin is owned by Diageo, and still makes memorable single-malt scotch whisky.
SEA is the first chapter of a story narrating the journey of a man with his human flaws and moments of pure genius, and it is dedicated to all the people that dared to go beyond.
It was 1862 when blender John Logan Mackie bought Lagavulin distillery. His nephew, Peter J. Mackie, our story's main protagonist, will be the one that will write a new chapter of the whisky's history.
Peter learned all the secrets of Islay and its whisky while he was spending his youth on the Island, surrounded by the harsh beauty of its rocky coast, and its breathtaking landscape.
When it came to his turn to steer the reins of Lagavulin, he was ready.
He created the White Horse blend in 1890, co-founded Craigellachie distillery, and was noted as a great innovator. Then, things became difficult.
Back in 1847, Walter Graham, owner of Lagavulin, leased Laphroaig and ran both distilleries. For some reason or another, this arrangement still endured in Peter Mackie's time. However, around the end of the 19th Century, the two distilleries got into an argument. The issue ensued in several legal battles, initially won by Peter.
Eventually, the contract finally ran out in 1907. Enraged by the loss of the agency for Laphroaig, Peter built a replica distillery at Lagavulin and called it Malt Mill. He aimed to reproduce Laphoaigh's characteristics, copying its stills. However, he inevitably failed since the water and peat were different.
Almost like a tragic hero, this time he had to accept defeat.
Nevertheless, despite this misstep, Peter went on his way, passion guiding him on his journey. He stayed true to what he learned on Islay as a child: if you use quality ingredients, you will get quality whisky. And so he did, readjusting his recipe for the White Horse label and focusing on making Lagavulin’s whisky a premium one. After all, Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart described him as “a third genius, a third megalomaniac and a third eccentric'. And a genius he was!
As people say, the rest is history!
Peter Mackie was a pioneer, pushing the boundaries of what is possible and never backing down in the face of adversity. His courage inspired us to narrate his story through his beloved Lagavulin whisky. Thus, in this first chapter of the Beyond collection, we wished to recall a lesson we learnt from Mackie's story.
Like the sea, life can be unpredictable and uncertain, but it is our courage that guides us through its storms and calms. For the true measure of a man is not in how he avoids challenges, but in how he faces them.
SEA is the courage to leap into the void while fully trusting in one's own abilities.
Peter's story proves that if you are willing to believe in your abilities, you can go beyond the boundaries drawn for you, to new, unexplored realities. This doesn't mean being immune from making mistakes. Peter, as we saw, made a few missteps. Nevertheless, he has always had the strength to move forward, adjust his course, and navigate through the passing tempest.
History has repaid him by passing on his story as a pioneer of a new world of whisky.
Thanks to him, Lagavulin is today what we all know and love: a distillery that produces a unique, rich and complex whisky. A distillery that looks to the sea and defies the storm.
The MNIW team personally prepares each package to ensure a unique and unforgettable experience.
The bottle arrives in a wooden box handmade by craftsmen in Italy. Along with it, you will find a certificate to guarantee its authenticity.
There is a lot of research behind the selection of every whisky, as every bottle has a story to tell. For this reason, along with the bottle, you will receive a booklet. From the moment you open its pages, you are transported to the rolling hills and misty valleys where the first drops of this premium spirit were distilled. The story of this whisky is woven through with poems, reflections and evocative imagery, painting a vivid picture of the passion and dedication that has gone into this bottle.
There are many other special items inside the package... but we won't reveal them, as we don't want to spoil the surprise!