Lagavulin has been made on the same site, on the south shore of Islay since at least 1816. To most whisky lovers Islay means one thing, peat. Peat has fuelled life in the island for centuries, and there is an awful lot of it covering miles of bog in the west of the island. Lagavulin's barley is malted at nearby Port Ellen, where it is bestowed with it's characteristic peat reek. The other major influence of the rich flavoursome character of Lagavulin is the wood in which it matures, 16 years for the standard expression. Unlike most other distilleries here there is a reliance on mainly Spanish, ex sherry casks, which add to the ripe suppleness of the finished dram. Michael Jackson, perhaps the most famous of whisky writers summed Lagavulin perfectly, An Islay classic. In the peatiness typical of the island, this is the most powerfully, intensely, dry. It also has smoke, salt and seaweedy, medicinal notes, though those characteristics are more evident in some of its neighbours.