For over 200 years, Ardbeg has been made on the small, remote Scottish Isle of Islay. Some people travel to Ardbeg along the winding road from Port Ellen. Others follow their nose, their destiny or the advice of a good friend.
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 °Ã«Ã‘"¡dark and mysterious place°Ã«Ã¾ in Gaelic, became the inspiration for a bottling launched in 2003 under the same name.
Ardbeg Uigeadail was later Jim Murray°Ã«Ã¾s 2009 World Whisky of the Year, a title held previously by Ardbeg°Ã«Ã¾s 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.
A ridge of vanilla on the nose leads to mountain of peat capped with citrus fruits and circled by clouds of sea spray. The palate has sweet vanilla counterbalanced with lemon and lime followed by that classic surging Ardbeg smoke that this whisky is know for. Long and glorious finish; sea salted caramel and beach bonfire smoke.