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|Owner||Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy|
|Water source||Loch Uigeadail|
|No. of stills||1 wash (18,000 l)|
1 spirit (17,000 l)
|Type||Single Malt Scotch Whisky|
|Age(s)||10 Year Old|
Airigh Nam Beist
|Cask type(s)||Bourbon, Sherry|
Ardbeg Distillery (Scottish Gaelic: Taigh-staile na h-Àirde Bige) is a Scotch whisky distillery in Ardbeg on the south coast of the isle of Islay, Argyll and Bute, Scotland, in the Inner Hebrides group of islands. The distillery is owned by Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, and produces a heavily peated Islay whisky. The distillery uses malted barley sourced from the maltings in Port Ellen.
History of the distillery
The Ardbeg distillery has been producing whisky since 1798, and began commercial production in 1815. Like most Scottish distilleries, for most of its history, its whisky was produced for use in blended whisky, rather than as a single malt. By 1886 the distillery produced 300,000 gallons of whisky per year, and employed 60 workers. Production was halted in 1981, but resumed on a limited basis in 1989 and continued at a low level through late 1996, during the period when Ardbeg was owned by Hiram Walker. In 1997 the distillery was bought and reopened by Glenmorangie plc (subsequently taken over by the French company LVMH on 28 December 2004) with production resuming on 25 June 1997 and full production resuming in 1998. The distillery was reopened by Ed Dodson in 1997 and handed over to Stuart Thomson, who managed it from 1997 to 2006. Michael "Mickey" Heads, an Islay native and former manager at Jura who had worked at Ardbeg years earlier, took over on 12 March 2007.
Ardbeg's offerings have garnered an array of awards at international spirit ratings competitions. For example:
- Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2008 awarded the Ten Years Old expression the title of 2008 World Whisky of the Year and Scotch Single Malt of the Year. The Ten Years Old also won a series of medals at the 2006-2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, winning two gold and six silver medals over that stretch.
- Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2009 and Whisky Bible 2010 awarded the Uigeadail expression the title of 2009 and 2010 World Whisky of the Year and Scotch Single Malt of the Year. The San Francisco World Spirits Competition awarded the Uigeadail two double gold, three gold, and two silver medals between 2006 and 2012.
- Ardbeg Galileo won the World's Best Single Malt Whisky in the 2013 World Whiskies Awards.
The distillery output is quite big for a distillery with only two pot stills. The wash still has a capacity of about 18,000 litres and the spirit still of about 17,000 litres. Currently a new still house is under construction which will double Ardbeg's distilling capacity. Ardbeg is one of the only Scottish distilleries who use a purifier, which leads to a smoother spirit.
Ardbeg inspired the Finnish composer of contemporary music, Osmo Tapio Räihälä, to write the symphonic poem Ardbeg—The Ultimate Piece For Orchestra (2003); it was recorded by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra on 28 April 2011.
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- Jefford, Andrew (2004). Peat Smoke and Spirit: A Portrait of Islay and its Whiskies. London: Headline. ISBN 978-0747227359.
- Lacey, Stephen (29 May 2014). "What type of whisky fan are you?". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 31 May 2014.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Smith, Gavin D.; Wallace, Graeme (2008). Ardbeg: A Peaty Provenance. Thatcham: GW Publishing. ISBN 978-0955414565.
- Wilson, Neil (2000). Ardbeg: The Jewel of Islay. Glasgow: Angels' Share. ISBN 978-1903238080.
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