Port Ellen was opened in 1824, later than its neighbors on the south coast of Islay. It was built by Alexander Mackay, on the site of a malt mill that possibly supplied the Oa Peninsula’s many illicit distillers. Mackay was in trouble and in 1836 the distillery rent was taken over by 21-year-old John Ramsay. In 1869, Port Ellen sales were handed over to W.P. Lowrie, the blender and broker who, among other things, lent James Buchanan money (and provided stock) for the young blender. By this time the Port Ellen had already begun to be exported to the United States. Purchased in 1920 by Port Ellen Distillery Co., Which had been formed by John Dewar and James Buchanan, it closed in 1930 and remained silent until 1967. Hit hard in 1980 by “whiskey loch” where “smoky” single malt whiskey was not appreciated by most drinkers, closed in 1983

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