A Islay classic, officially established by the MacDougall family in 1815, like many scottish distilleries the heavyweight Ardbeg fell silent in the latter quarter of the twentieth century, to the point that it was practically unknown outside Islay. However since taking over in 1997 the new owner Glenmorangie plc has completely reversed its sad decline, and Ardbeg is resurgent, quickly building a following among whisky drinkers around the globe. Like other southern Islay malts Laphroaig and Lagavulin, Ardbeg is heavily peated, with a turfy smoke and seaspray character predominant in most bottlings. Introduced in 2000, this revered ten-year-old Islay whisky is one of the peatiest and smokiest single malts but is made less challenging by its natural sweetness. Matured in a balance of 1st and 2nd Fill ex-Bourbon American Oak casks, it is bottled without chill filtration at 46% abv to retain maximum flavour, texture and mouth-feel. Ardbeg lies in a small cove off the south coast of Islay, the name is derived from the Scottish Gaelic Àrd Beag, meaning small headland. Its chief watersource is Loch Uigeadail (gaelic for dark and mysterious place). The distillery uses malted barley sourced from the maltings in Port Ellen, having lost its own maltings in 1977 when it was owned by Hiram Walker.
A burst of intense smoky fruit on the nose, peat infused with zesty lemon, lime and dark chocolate. The finish is long and smoky with tarry espresso, aniseed, toasted almonds and traces of soft barley and fresh pear.