April 24, 2024

Few names resonate in the Scotch whisky world quite like Lagavulin. Over the last few decades, the brand grew into one of the world’s most recognizable, becoming emblematic of Islay’s rich smoky style. Now, Iain McArthur, Lagavulin legend and warehouse manager, has announced his retirement, and the brand is celebrating his illustrious career with a special bottling, Iain’s Farewell Dram.

“Being part of the Lagavulin family has been the adventure of a lifetime, but now I’m ready for a change of pace,” says McArthur. “At 18 Years Old, this bottling brings back fond memories for me, enjoying a dram and celebrating moments in my life. I hope everyone that loves this distillery as much as I do gets to enjoy it.”

 McArthur has worked for Lagavulin for half a century. Courtesy of Lagavulin
McArthur has worked for Lagavulin for half a century. Courtesy of Lagavulin A360

McArthur started his career over 50 years ago at the now shuttered-and soon to reopen-Port Ellen Distillery, before becoming part of the Lagavulin team for half a century. Over the course of his time at the distillery he easily adapted to a variety of roles, including peat cutting and overseeing casks, but may be best known for the tasting sessions he conducted for distillery visitors.

McArthur himself filled the cask used for Iain’s Farewell Dram 18 years ago, and he hand poured each of the bottles this December. Matured in second-fill manzanilla casks, the whisky begins with aromas of smoldering embers, cereal, green orchard fruits, crisp apple, vanilla, yogurt, and sherry. From there, smells of white peppercorns and tea emerge, leading to notes of toasted cardamom, cinnamon, and peat. The palate finds more smoke, apple and cinnamon, leading to hints of chili pepper that remains throughout the lingering finish.

On December 14th, Iain’s friends and family were given the first chance to buy a bottle. Next year, Lagavulin will make the rest of the bottles of Iain’s Farewell Dram (bottled at 58.7% ABV) available for £350 (about $390).

 Lagavulin 18-Year-Old Iain's Farewell Dram Courtesy of Lagavulin
Lagavulin 18-Year-Old Iain’s Farewell Dram Courtesy of Lagavulin A360

Related: The 15 Best Scotch Whiskies to Sip and Savor

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This story was originally published December 23, 2023, 7:00 PM.

source: star-telegram

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