The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show Partners With Lagavulin to Bring Jazz to London


The beautiful Scottish island of Islay is host each year to its own jazz festival. However, it’s a difficult place to get to, so for one night only, on Tuesday 3rd September The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show, Lagavulin™ and Jazz FM have come together to bring a bit of Islay Jazz to London at the Jazz Café, Camden.

On stage we will have the Colin Steele Quintet – over the last decade trumpeter Colin Steele has made his mark on the UK scene, winning awards and impressing audiences with his Scottish-folk tinged jazz. His quintet brings him together with four other top Scottish musicians: Konrad Wiszniewski (saxophones), Dave Milligan (piano), Callum Gourlay (double bass) and Stu Richie (drums).

Tom Bancroft will also be gracing the stage. A key figure in the Scottish Jazz scene for over 20 years, drummer, composer and bandleader Tom Bancroft‘s latest project focuses on musical storytelling, with musical mash-ups, improvisations and original compositions drawing on the group’s extensive live experience. Trio Red brings together Tom on drums with Tom Cawley on Piano and Per Zanussi on bass.

Tickets include entry on the night, a Lagavulin aperitif, a dram of Lagavulin 16yo and a Lagavulin cocktail during the interval, designed by virtuoso bartender Ryan ‘Mr Lyan’ Chetiyawardana. VIP tickets are also available, which also include a seat on the balcony and a main course from the Jazz Café’s fabulous menu.

Nick Tether, Group Marketing Manager at Speciality Drinks says: “This is going to be a fantastic evening with real authenticity, pairing award winning Islay jazz musicians together with a variety of Lagavulin drinks. It’s all about getting people together to experience whisky in new and exciting ways while showcasing what we are looking forward to at this year’s show. To be working with such an iconic and distinctive brand as Lagavulin makes this event something really exciting for everybody involved.”

There is also a prize draw to win both a pair of tickets to the Jazz Café Concert and a pair of tickets to the Sunday session of The Whisky Show. Simply buy a bottle of Lagavulin 16 from TWE’s Islay Jazz Festival page ( between now and Friday 23rd August and you will be entered into the draw.

Lagavulin Tasting Notes


A well-known Scottish whisky that springs to mind when you talk about the Islands is Lagavulin. This is also a brand that has got a fantastic range, but more on the exclusive side. So why the limitations?

The distillery of Lagavulin officially dates from 1816, when two gentleman going by the names of John Jonston and Archibald Campbell constructed two distilleries on the site. Records show illicit distillation in at least ten illegal distilleries on the site as far back as 1742 but by the 1830’s only two distilleries remained in the bay – Lagavulin and Ardmore (although this has nothing to do with its namesake, as far as I can tell). In 1837 these distilleries amalgamated to form Lagavulin. At this stage the distillery was under the ownership of the Graham brothers and James Logan Mackie. In the 19th century, several legal battles ensued with their neighbour Laphroaig, brought about after the distiller at Lagavulin, Sir Peter Mackie, leased the Laphroaig distillery. It is said that Mackie attempted to copy Laphroaig’s style. Since the water and peat at Lagavulin’s premises was different from that at Laphroaig’s, the result was different.
Lagavulin was the best-selling Islay single malt scotch until 1998, when it was overtaken by the neighbouring Laphroaig. Its slight demise can be factored towards the fact that Lagavulin is currently experiencing problems in meeting whisky demands. The recent difficulties stem from a few decades when working conditions were decidedly lax; a two day working week led to very low production and it was not until 1981 that a five day week was finally instated. This could be a major fact in the lack of a more regular and widely seen portfolio.

Lagavilin is created in the traditional way too, but at a much slower rate.

The barley used to distil Lagavulin is malted at nearby Port Ellen and has perhaps twenty times as much exposure to peat smoke as a typical Speyside such as Cragganmore. Fermentation of the barley is a slow process where between 55 and 75 hours are taken. The four stills at Lagavulin, two of them pear-shaped, follow the original practice of the slowest distillation of any Islay malt – around five hours for the first distillation and more than nine hours for the second.

So how does it all fare? Well below, i give to you my tasting notes on my experiences with their range so far –

Lagavulin 16yr – 43%

Heavy peat on the nose with whispers of smoke and iodine. Very rich on the palate with the peat bursting several times. Slightly dry, with a biscuit malt, subtle spices and a long lingering finish.

A distillers edition ad 12yr cask strength are the two other more common varieties, but if you ever see Lagavulin behind a bar, or indeed someone’s drinks cabinet, your more than likely going to encounter the 16yr, and if you do you’ll experience something fantastic.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.