Port Ellen is one of the three main villages on Islay and one of the two ferry terminals on the island. The distillery was expanded in the 1960s and temporarily closed in 1983. It's whitepainted buildings form a "street" close to the seashore. Only peat which was dug in the district was used in the drying and the water was taken from two lochs in the nearby hills, the principal one used for distilling purposes being noted locally for its purity. Next to the distillery is a modern Maltings which exudes pungent peat smoke.