Ardbeg is first and foremost one of the classic, peat-laden single malts in the smoky, Islay style. But it is also one of the sweetest, so you get an interesting combination of smoke, fruit, peat, and honey vanilla.
And since the distillery sits right on the coast (seriously, any close and it would have to float), you definitely get hints of sea salt and lime. It's not a "peat monster" test of manhood kind of Whisky, but it has full-throated flavor to spare. The 10 YO single malt is the cornerstone of the Ardbeg range, while a good portion of their Spirit is still currently used in blends.
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Ardbeg's signature 10YO won "World Whisky of the Year" in 2008.
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ArdbegDistillery sits in a line of four distilleries on the southeastern shore of Islay - Port Ellen, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardberg.
Ardbeg was founded in 1815. Like so many distilleries in Scotland, most of the Spirit has been traditionally used to create Scotch blends. But there are so many fans of the Islay single malt style, that this has changed.
The distillery was sold to Hiram Walker for a time, but it seems that they did not have their heart in it, and production was slowed to a comparative trickle. In fact, production even halted for a few years in 1981.
Glenmorangie - part of the LVMH Group - scooped up the distillery in 1997 and resumed full production. The 10YO single malt is the foundation of their entire range, though there are other age-stated releases.
Each expression in their core line up has a different phenol (smoke) rating and is served at a different ABV. A good bit of their Spirit is still used in blends as well.
When they are running at full tilt, they can crank out 1,250,000 liters of their Spirits.
CountryUnited Kingdom, Scotland
No. of stills1 wash, 1 spirit
AddressArdbeg Distillery, Port Ellen, Isle of Islay, Argyll, PA42 7EA United Kingdom