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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