Malt Mill Spirit discovered at Lagavulin

malt-mill-being-placed-in-display-cabinet

Sometimes life imitates art. Sometimes art imitates life. Then there are the times when the whole thing gets so mixed up that nobody is quite sure which is which any more and you start to convince yourself that you might be some sort of superhero until someone tells you to get down from that roof before they call the police. This is not one of those times but it is pretty close.

On June 25th it was announced that the staff at the Lagavulin distillery had found a bottle of the priceless Malt Mill new make spirit, which was from the very last run of the lost distillery, at the back of one of their cupboards. For anyone who has seen Ken Loach’s recent film ‘The Angels Share’ you’ll understand the significance, for those who haven’t here’s my review of the film. If you are too eager/busy/lazy to do that then the main plot point from the film is that it involves the theft of an extremely rare whisky; that whisky being from the lost and almost forgotten about distillery of Malt Mill.

Now I must say that Malt Mill was not a distillery I knew much of before the film but it certainly has an interesting past. In 1907 Sir Peter Mackie lost the sales agency for Laphroaig. Instead of getting a new hobby or looking at other avenues for cash flow Sir Peter decided that he would make a whisky exactly the same as Laphroaig and sell that instead. He based it in the Lagavulin distillery complex. Using almost identical stills and staff from the Laphroaig distillery, Malt Mill began producing in 1908. The whisky was in no way identical to Laphroaig but it carried on being produced until 1962. When Malt Mill ceased producing, the distillery was swallowed up by Lagavulin and is now the reception area of their distillery.

The bottle of new spirit that has been found dates back to the final year of production, 1962. It seems that it has been passed on down the line of Lagavulin distillery managers over the years and after the success of the film it has been made public.

You can read a little bit more about this here. I can’t believe that a bottle like this has just been kicking around somewhere without much attention or love. Hopefully it can now get all the acclaim that it deserves as the last of its kind. I wonder how I can get a taste to help join in the celebration…

Comments

  1. Isn’t this some kind of misunderstanding? The bottle was always there, and they knew where it was. it just has been made public now because of the film. I think Nick Morgan’s comment in the press release makes this perfectly clear: “In my twenty years as an historian and archivist, I’ve always wanted to see this unique bottle of Malt Mill go on display.”

    I think it was two years ago when I first heard that Lagavulin has the only known bottle of maltmill newmake.

  2. If this Malt Mill new make spirit was bottled straight without being aged for minimum 3 yrs in an oak barrel can it be called whisky? It seems to me that it is just a bottle with alcohol. A very old one.

  3. @Oliver. Very true Oliver perhaps I should have been a little bit clearer. However to have such a thing just tucked away seems a little bit strange. Surely they could of had it on display in the reception area where the old distillery was?

    @tudor. Indeed it is new spirit so it cannot be called whisky. Would be great to be able to try it though… ;-)

  4. They should make a tiny 1L oak cask, season it with a quality sherry, and use it to mature the Maltmill old-newmake! At the very least they best secure the mouth of the bottle, looks like several distillery workers volunteered their used gum to seal it – in a few more years they may be no more liquid to admire and drool over.

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  7. It is whisky, but due to no aging in a cask does not qualify as “scotch”.

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