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Ardbeg

Ardbeg lies solitary, in a small cove off the south coast of Islay. It was once a stage for illegal distillation, when smugglers took advantage of the remote location and exceptional conditions for whisky production. Eventually, excise men seized the original, illegitimate buildings from the smugglers and destroyed them. It was not until 1815 that a legal distillery was established and founded by John McDougall. Sitting nearby leviathan distilleries; Laphroaig and Lagavulin, Ardbeg has always produced a very sought-after single malt, despite its production scale being less than half that of its neighbours.

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.

Ardbeg Whisky Distillery

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About Ardbeg Whisky Distillery

Distillery Number

01496 302244

Distillery Capacity

1 000 000 litres

Distillery Founded

1815

Distillery Status

Active

Distillery Address

Near Port Ellen, Islay, Argyll

Distillery Owner

The Glenmorangie Co (Moët Hennessy)

Distillery Website

www.ardbeg.com

1794

First record of a distillery at Ardbeg. It was founded by Alexander Stewart.

1798

The MacDougalls, later to become licensees of Ardbeg, are active on the site through Duncan MacDougall.

1815

The current distillery is founded by John MacDougall, son of Duncan MacDougall.

1853

Alexander MacDougall, John’s son, dies and sisters Margaret and Flora MacDougall, assisted by Colin Hay, continue the running of the distillery. Colin Hay takes over the licence when the sisters die.

1888

Colin Elliot Hay and Alexander Wilson Gray Buchanan renew their license.

1900

Colin Hay’s son takes over the license.

1959

Ardbeg Distillery Ltd is founded.

1973

Hiram Walker and Distillers Company Ltd jointly purchase the distillery for £300 000

1974

Widely considered as the last vintage of ‘old, peaty’ Ardbeg. Malt which has not been produced in the distillery´s own maltings is used in increasingly larger shares after this year.

1977

Hiram Walker assumes single control of the distillery. Ardbeg closes its maltings.

1979

Kildalton, a less peated malt, is produced over a number of years.

1981

The distillery closes in March.

1987

Allied Lyons takes over Hiram Walker and thereby Ardbeg.

1989

Production is restored with Iain Henderson as Manager. All malt is taken from Port Ellen.

1996

The distillery closes in July and Allied Distillers decides to put it up for sale during the autumn.

1997

Glenmorangie plc buys the distillery for £7 million (whereof £5.5 million is for whisky in storage). On stream from 25th June. Ardbeg 17 years old and Provenance are launched

1998

A new visitor centre opens.

2000

Ardbeg 10 years is introduced. The Ardbeg Committee (a worldwide forum for Ardbeg fans) is launched and has 30 000 members after a few years.

2001

Lord of the Isles 25 years and Ardbeg 1977 are launched.

2002

Ardbeg Committee Reserve and Ardbeg 1974 are launched.

2003

Uigeadail is launched.

2004

Very Young Ardbeg (6 years) and a limited edition of Ardbeg Kildalton (1300 bottles) are launched. The latter is a non-peated cask strength from 1980.

2005

Serendipity is launched.

2006

Ardbeg 1965 and Still Young are launched. Distillery Manager Stuart Thomson leaves Ardbeg after nine years. Almost There (9 years old) and Airigh Nam Beist are released.

2007

Michael Heads becomes the new distillery manager. Ardbeg Mor, a 10 year old in 4.5 litre bottles is released.

2008

The new 10 year old, Corryvreckan, Rennaisance, Blasda and Mor II are released.

Reproduced from the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2009 with the kind permission of Mr Ingvar Ronde

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The penultimate part in the Young series from Ardbeg, spanning the development of Ardbeg, from Very Young, all the way up to 10 years. This was distilled in 1998, and offers lots of complexity and a...  More info
$158.75
Ardbeg Alligator
(70cl, 51.20%)
Strictly limited to 2 per customer

It's finally here! The hotly anticipated official release of Ardbeg Alligator will simply fly off our shelves! It's aged in a similar style to the standard 10...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$160.36
Once upon a time at the Glenmorangie bottling plant, very well-aged Ardbeg was accidentally mixed with some young Glen Moray, oops! The result is this rare bottle with a great story behind it, the...  More info
A stunning Ardbeg, the likes of which have never been seen before. This was distilled in March 1991, and bottled in October 2008. There are just 316 bottles, at the strength of 50% (for added...  More info
This 16 year old was matured in ex-bourbon casks. The rather ominous 'Airigh Nam Beist' derives from the Scotch Gaelic for 'Shelter of the Beast'. Ardbeg describe this as "Ardbeg Icecream" - we...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
STRICTLY 1 PER CUSTOMER
Single cask 21 year old Ardbeg? Erm... Yes please! As always with our single cask releases, we don't chill-filter any of the goodness out or add anything else that doesn't...  More info
$184.42
This gorgeous Ardbeg may not have taken on quite the same hue as some of its Darkness! siblings, but it has still spent 3 months in a tiny, specially rebuilt 50 litre first-fill Sherry cask (a fresh...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$192.44
From a recently released Ardbeg range showcasing the affects of maturation on 1998-distilled whisky. Starting from Very Young through Still Young and Almost There, Renaissance is the conclusion with...  More info
A super limited release of independently bottled Ardbeg! There are just 306 bottles of this stuff, bottled at natural cask strength in 2011 at the Bruichladdich distillery after 17 years in a single...  More info
An 18 year old single cask Ardbeg, this was matured in a refill hogshead, distilled in March 1991 and bottled in September 2009 by Douglas Laing with an outturn of 316 bottles.  More info
Distilled at Ardbeg in March 1991 and matured for 18 years before bottling in August 2009. A release of 208 bottles, bottled by Douglas Laing.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
A single cask, independent bottling of Ardbeg, likely to sell out before I finish typing this sentence! It was distilled in 1993 and aged for 18 years in a bourbon cask before bottling at the...  More info
Ardbog (Ardbeg)
(70cl, 52.10%)
STRICTLY ONE PER CUSTOMER

A limited edition Ardbeg released during the Fèis Ìle whisky festival. Aged in a combination of bourbon as well as some Manzanilla sherry casks, it was produced for...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
$216.57
Ardbeg day was released for Feis Ile 2012 but is basically a Committee release. It's a fantastic whisky, and a departure for the distillery which normally releases very limited, exceptional single...  More info
$240.57
Ardbeg Galileo
(70cl, 49%)
The rumour mill has been rumbling about this Ardbeg release for some time. In April 2012 Ardbeg sent some of their new-make spirit up into space to make Ardbeg the first inter-stellar whisky, so it...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
Maximum one bottle per customer.Quite possibly the most exciting new whisky release for 2010! This is the brand new Supernova, stronger, more pungent in flavour, and more earthy than last year's...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$280.68
The most heavily peated Ardbeg ever released. In our humble opinion, this is the best of the heavily peated whiskies available today. Top tip - this whisky makes a lot more sense if you 'build up' to...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.0/5)
Ardbeg Mor 10 Year Old
(450cl, 46%)
The moniker 'Mór' is Scotch Gaelic for 'Big', rather apt as this 10 year old from the Ardbeg distillery comes in a 4.5 litre bottle. A limited release.  More info
$464.06
The first ever Ardbeg Supernova, and Ardbeg's initial go at producing super peaty whisky! This was created specially for the Ardbeg Committee, and when we first tasted it we couldn't believe how...  More info
$481.23
On the 15th February 2010, the release of Ardbeg Rollercoaster was met with palpable excitement. The 50,000 Committee Members were keen to get their hands on the 15,000 bottles and apparently the...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
Ardbeg Very Young
(70cl, 58.30%)
The first part in the Young series from Ardbeg, tracking the development of Ardbeg whisky, aged for just a few years, all the way up to the standard Ardbeg at 10 years old. Very interesting indeed...  More info
$497.27
The Committee Release of Ardbeg Alligator, so named for the barrels it was aged in; the American oak casks were given such an intense char, the resulting charcoal surface resembled alligator skin!...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
Ardbeg 1978
(70cl, 43%)
A rather rare release from Ardbeg, this 1978 vintage represents single malt from the prodigious Ileach distillery at its most balanced and poised. Superb.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
A very rare Ardbeg bottled by Gordon and MacPhail in 2003. This was distilled in 1975 - a legendary vintage for Ardbeg.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$553.42
Ardbeg 1975
(70cl, 43%)
Michael Jackson (whisky writer, not moonwalker) scored this 1975 Ardbeg with a 9 out of 10. An earthy, peppery, citrussy Ardbeg.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
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