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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


Distillery Status


Distillery Address

Near Port Ellen, Islay, Argyll

Distillery Owner

The Glenmorangie Co (Moët Hennessy)

Distillery Website


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


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


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


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.


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


Colin Hay’s son takes over the license.


Ardbeg Distillery Ltd is founded.


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


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.


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


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


The distillery closes in March.


Allied Lyons takes over Hiram Walker and thereby Ardbeg.


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


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


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


A new visitor centre opens.


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.


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


Ardbeg Committee Reserve and Ardbeg 1974 are launched.


Uigeadail is launched.


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.


Serendipity is launched.


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.


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


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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Whisky Liqueurs
Bruichladdich Octomore
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
A sherry matured Ardbeg, distilled in 1993 and bottled by Gordon and MacPhail for the Connoisseurs Choice range.  More info
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
This is the second batch of Elements of Islay bottled Ar (who knows which Islay distillery Ar could refer to?!) Serge from awarded this 90 points! This is a cask strength single malt...  More info
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
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
Ardbeg 1998 Single Cask
(70cl, 55.60%)
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
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
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
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:  (1 Review)
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
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:  (9 Reviews)
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
User Rating:  (1 Review)
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:  (3 Reviews)
Ardbeg Corryvreckan, this is a the Committee Reserve bottling, released in 2008 to great critical acclaim.  More info
Ardbeg Still Young
(70cl, 56.20%)
Part of a range from Ardbeg exhibiting the affects of age on their wonderful single malt whisky. Still Young represents the second stage, aged for 8 years.  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
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:  (16 Reviews)
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
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
This whisky hails from the illustrious Islay distillery of Ardbeg - that sits on the island’s Southern coast and produces its highly peated malt whisky. Ardbeg closed in July 1996, thankfully the...  More info
User Rating:  (7 Reviews)
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
Ardbeg changed hands between 1996 and 1997, since then the distillery has only released a Ten Year Old with an age statement. So it is pretty darn exciting *massively massively exciting* to get to try...  More info
User Rating:  (4 Reviews)
A tumbler from Islay Tour-de-force Ardbeg.  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
This is the stunning Batch 3 of That Boutique-y Whisky Company's Ardbeg - it's a superb little whisky which flaunts the beautiful house style with more than a hint of sweet sherry too.

The label...  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
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
User Rating:  (2 Reviews)
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