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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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I don't want to alarm anyone, but Hunter Laing have bottled a cask of 21 year old Ardbeg single malt Scotch whisky for the 15th anniversary of their Old Malt Cask range. There were just 136 bottles...  More info
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Ardbeg 1998 Single Cask
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An extraordinary whisky from Ardbeg. This is one of those ultra-rare expressions, which really come around once in a blue moon. This was distilled on the 14th September 1998, before it was filled into...  More info
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Ardbeg Feis Ile 2011
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Ardbeg's absolutely amazing Feis Ile bottling, bottled in 2011. This very rare Ardbeg was distilled in 1998 and aged in two Pedro Ximenez butts (making this the closest thing you'll ever get to a...  More info
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These mid-1990s Connoisseur's Choice bottlings of mid-70s Ardbegs have become legendary, and this is a truly stunning example we don't expect to hang around very long...  More info
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An astonishing 11 year old single cask from Ardbeg - stunning in flavour and very, very rare. This was distilled in 1998 and aged in cask 1275 (a first fill bourbon barrel) before bottling in 2009 - a...  More info
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A beautiful 14 year old, single cask Ardbeg bottled especially for the 2010 Feis Ile (Islay Festival). This was distilled on the 7th December 1995, it was then aged in cask 2761 (a second fill bourbon...  More info
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One of the rarest things ever to be, Ardbeg's stunning cask 1217 was especially laid down for Lord Robertson's (NATO Secretary General, born on Islay) charity project Erskine, which provides nursing...  More info
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A rare bottle of Ardbeg, bottled by the Silver Seal company. This commemorates the Hillary and Norgay summiting Mount Everest on the 29th May 1953. This was distilled in 1978 and packaged in a silver...  More info
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About as rare as they come, this is one of the very last whiskies released before Ardbeg shut down for a few years. Highly collectable and absolutely incredible in flavour (we've heard).  More info
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This was distilled at the Ardbeg distillery in 1974 and it was bottled especially for Speymalt Whisky's Spirit of Scotland range. A very rare and collectible bottling from the legendary Islay...  More info
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Ardbeg 1977
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Rare and delicious Ardbeg! Jim Murray awarded this 96 points and described it as "simply one of the greatest experiences". This was distilled in 1977 and bottled in 2001, part of a release of 2,400...  More info
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A very limited and rare release from Ardbeg, specially bottled for the Committee. This was crafted from 12 carefully chosen casks of Ardbeg distilled in 1979 and 1980. Released in 2001.  More info
One malt to rule them all. An incredible dram, Whisky Mag recommended, Lord of the Isles is an exquisite Ardbeg, matured for 25 years. This is rich, full-bodied, with good sweetness.  More info
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Ardbeg 1980 Kildalton
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Liquid gold for any fans of Ardbeg, Kildalton is a legendary whisky, which was distilled in 1980 and release in 2004 with an outturn of 1,300, never-to-be-repeated bottles. All at natural cask...  More info
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Distilled in 1974 and bottled in November 1997, just after the Ardbeg distillery was bought by Glenmorangie, the Ardbeg Provenance is a legendary bottling of 23 year old single malt Scotch whisky...  More info
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Ardbeg 1974 Provenance
(70cl, 55.60%)
An incredibly rare, highly collectible and rather legendary bottle of vintage Ardbeg, bottled at natural cask strength. Distilled in 1974, Serge from WhiskyFun.com awarded this an astonishing 95...  More info
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