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Ardbeg Whisky Distillery

Ardbeg is one of the most famous whisky distilleries in the world, and for good reason. The Ardbeg distillery produces some of the finest single malt whisky around and has been doing so for centuries.
The Ardbeg distillery is located on the island of Islay, off the coast of Scotland. The distillery was founded in 1815 by John McDougall and has been in operation ever since. Ardbeg whisky is renowned for its smoky flavour, which comes from the peat that is used to smoke the barley during the whisky-making process.

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 Ardbeg's production scale being less than half that of its neighbours.

Ardbeg ran into some financial difficulties and the distillery was closed in 1981. It was not until 1989 that distillation resumed, although on a very small scale. After closing again in 1996, the owners, Allied Domecq, put the Ardbeg distillery up for sale. It was bought in 1997 by Glenmorangie Co and was, at last, restored to its former grandeur.

Ardbeg's 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 was acquired by luxury giant Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy in 2005. In 2006, Stuart Thompson, who had served as the distillery manager at Ardbeg since the take-over by Glenmorangie PLC in 1997, left the distillery after working there for almost a decade. Following this, Michael "Mickey" Heads, an Islay native and former manager at Jura who had worked at Ardbeg years earlier, took over in March 2007.

Ardbeg release its peatiest expression ever in 2009, in the form of Supernova.

The new Ardbeg still house In 2018, construction of a new still house at the Ardbeg distillery began which will house four new stills, while the original still house is being refurbished in order to house six new washbacks. This will increase production from 1.4 million litres to 2.4 million litres.

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