In 1798 the Macdougalls start producing whisky at Ardbeg farm with little more than a worm in a tub and a small pot still.
Ardbeg is the peatiest and smokiest of all the Islay malts, yet has a fruity floral sweetness and complexity to the spirit. In 1815 John Macdougall takes out a licence and Ardbeg is now a legitmate concern. In 1838 Thomas Buchanan, a Glasgow spirit merchant buys the distillery, but John Macdougall’s son Alexander is the manager. After Johns death in 1853, Colin Hay and Johns sisters (Margaret and Flora) co run the business. In 1922 Alexander MacDougall & Co Ltd purchases Ardbeg, but in 1959 Ardbeg Distillery Ltd buys Alexander MacDougall & Co Ltd. Hiram Walker acquires the distillery in 1977. Production dwindles to nothing and in 1987 Allied Lyons takes over.
In 1991 the distillery closes for the second time, but in 1997 the Glenmorangie company takes over and is still the owner today.
Ardbeg is the peatiest and smokiest of all the Islay malts, yet has a fruity floral sweetness and complexity to the spirit, and has now been voted the Best Whisky in the world for 3 years in a row.
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700 ml, 46.6% abv, Scotland (Islay)A welcome new addition to the Ultimate range. Ardbeg An Oa is singularly rounded, due in no small part to time spent in the newly established bespoke oak Gathering Vat where whiskies from several cask types - including; sweet Pedro Ximenez; spicy virgin charred oak; and intense ex-bourbon casks, amongst others - familiarise themselves with each other. The result is a dram with smoky power, mellowed by a delectable, smooth sweetness. Hallmark Ardbeg peat, dark chocolate and aniseed are wrapped in smooth, silky butterscotch, black pepper and clove, before rising to an intense crescendo of flavour.
700 ml, 54.2% abv, Scotland (Islay)In 2009, Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible named Ardbeg Uigeadail ‘World Whisky of the Year’ – in praise of its “utter silky brilliance” and “complexity on a level only a handful of distilleries in the world can even dream of reaching.” Ardbeg Uigeadail (‘Oog-a-dal’) is a special vatting that marries Ardbeg’s traditional deep, smoky notes with luscious, raisiny tones of old ex-Sherry casks. It's non chill-filtered at high strength, which retains maximum flavour and gives more body and added depth.
700 ml, 57.1% abv, Scotland (Islay)Corryvreckan takes its name from the famous whirlpool that lies to the north of Islay, where only the bravest souls dare to venture. Swirling aromas and torrents of deep, peaty, peppery taste lurk beneath the surface of this beautifully balanced dram. Like the whirlpool itself, Corryvreckan is not for the faint-hearted !
"Fresh sea breeze aromas and a distinct prickle from the alcohol. Scents of orange, caramelised brown sugar and raspberries, which come out more with water. Sweet, dense, smoky and salty on the palate. Like biting into charcoal. Sea salt-laced, sticky toffee pudding. Orange oils and a spicy bite – star anise and white pepper, plus some seaweed."