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Ardbeg Distillery

Distillers of a wide variety of smooth peaty single malt whiskies

Overview

Ardbeg is one of several working distilleries on the southern coast of the island of Islay. Ardbeg claims to be the peatiest Islay whisky, and uses malted barley sourced from the (Diageo owned) maltings in Port Ellen. Distillery manager was Mr. Stuart Thomson from 1997 to 2006. On March 12th 2007, Michael "Mickey" Heads, the former manager at Jura took over the reins from Stuart Thomson. Ardbeg is renowned for its overtly peaty, smokey house style. Despite a pungent nose, formidable flavors, and high alcohol content, Ardbeg is surprisingly smooth on the palate, with a warm lingering finish.

The Ardbeg distillery was established in 1815, but was mothballed after running into some financial difficulties the distillery closed in 1981 and it was not until 1989 that distillation resumed, although on a very small scale. After closing again in 1996 then owners, Allied Domecq, put the distillery up for sale. It was bought in 1997 by Glenmorangie Co and was, at last, restored to its former grandeur. Its chief watersource, Loch Uigeadail, or ‘dark and mysterious place’ in Gaelic, became the inspiration for a bottling launched in 2003 under the same name. Ardbeg Uigeadail was later Jim Murray’s 2009 World Whisky of the Year, a title held previously by Ardbeg’s ten year-old. Ardbeg has become known for its rich, peated whiskies, very easily identifiable by their fullness of body and perfect harmony of flavour.

The Ardbeg Committee was established in 1945 to "promote the advancement of general knowledge and enjoyment of Ardbeg" (Quote: Rules and Regulations, page 4).

All Ardbeg-aficionados can join this Committee on Ardbeg's website. Special bottlings can sometimes be obtained by members of this committee.

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