The biggest, the most intense, the definitive. The spirit is usually matured for at least 16 years, and we like to think of it as character building. After all, such intense flavour isn't created overnight. From the rugged Hebridean Isles, miles and miles of peat bog in the west of the island provide the raw material which imbues the barley with that distinct smoky flavour. Not to mention the rich peaty water that runs down the brown burn from the Solan Lochs and into the distillery. In case you haven’t figured it out, the smoky, peated Lagavulin is seen as the ultimate expression of this region. There have been distilleries at Lagavulin since the 18th century; though it wasn’t until 1816 that farmer John Johnston founded the first legal operation. A year later a second distillery appeared, this one run by Archibald Campbell. The two were united under a Glasgow trader, and in 1887, Peter Mackie arrived at the distillery, under whose guiding hand the distillery, and the name Lagavulin, was to become the last word in Islay malt. This is an intense, roaring bonfire of a malt. Like a driftwood fire at dusk, their wood-smoke envelopes you, banishing the wet and the cold with maritime notes, salt and an unexpected delicacy reminiscent of lapsang souchong. Not for nothing is this regarded as the definitive Islay, and for many, the definitive Single Malt Scotch Whisky.