Lagavulin distillery

At the Lagavulin distillery on Islay, warehouseman Iain McArthur has spent 42 years experiencing what secrets go on behind its doors.

Now, he is opening up the distillery to one competition winner who will spend two days with him as an apprentice in June, going behind the scenes to learn about it in full.

“I love my job and cannot wait to share all the aspects of what makes it so special with one lucky winner,” he said, in a recent interview.

Iain McArthur LagavulinApplicants have until the end of the month to apply via the Friends of the Classic Malts explaining why they would love to take part.

The distillery has had many requests over the years from people wanting to experience life at Lagavulin, explained Iain, so the company decided it was time to do just that.

The winner will get the chance to cut peat, learn the art of distilling and maturation in all its nitty gritty forms and discover just what it means to be a warehouseman.

“They’ll also discover the beauty of having a wee dram of Lagavulin after a hard day’s work.  And there will be a few secrets to tell as well,” he said.

Despite having been at Lagavulin for more than four decades, he still finds it magical.

“When we say magic, it’s not just the process of making the whisky, it’s the natural surroundings, the people, and the lovely Islay weather we’re talking about.  It’s sometimes hard to describe to people who haven’t visited but Islay is a very special Island, with distilling in her heart and once experienced we hope the apprentice will take a piece of our magic home with them,” he said.

And what does he love most about his job that he’s hoping to share? It’s simple, he said: “Being in amongst the Islay Angels.”

For your chance to win two days as an apprentice at Lagavulin, visit the Friends of the Classic Malts and apply before the end of March. Fifty runners up will receive a signed bottle of Lagavulin 16-year old.