Updated: May 8, 2019
On Saturday I spent an amazing couple of hours out on the ocean around the southeast coast of Islay with Islay Sea-Adventures, and one of the highlights was seeing Lagavulin from the water. I had done a tour and tasting the day before, which did not disappoint. (I got a "driver's dram" of the Distillery Only Bottling to take away as I would rather enjoy that peaty, smokey, 54%, 16-year-old goodness over time instead of one fell swoop.) Lagavulin has relaxed their no photos policy so I got a few snaps inside.
(As I mentioned in another post, Ron Swanson from the show Parks and Recreation first got me intrigued about Lagavulin and I've become a peaty whisky lover! Heres the clip of him visiting Lagavulin and falling in love with Scotland's Western Isles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoXdC2zDi0s.)
Dunyvaig Castle is very important to the history of Scotland. It was the naval fortress of the Lords of the Isles (the chiefs of the Clan MacDonald.) An account in the early 1600s called the castle an "ancient fortress." I love to think about what that promontory has seen over the ages - from prehistoric settlement, to Viking raiders, to the Lords of the Isles. It was sometimes a military base and other times an elite residence. It was most likely built in the 1200s, battered over the ages in subsequent attempts at control (the Campbells and MacDonalds were at it again!), and finally demolished by the final occupant in 1677.
Dunyvaig is owned by Lagavulin and managed by Historic Environment Scotland. Last year Diageo donated over £580,000 to Islay Good Causes in commemoration of Lagavulin's 200th Anniversary. (You can read a detailed breakdown of the first excavation here: http://islayheritage.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Dunyvaig-Castle-2018-Breaking-the-Ground-in-More-Ways-than-One.pdf)