Ardbeg distillery

Coordinates: 55°38′26″N 06°06′31″W / 55.64056°N 6.10861°W / 55.64056; -6.10861
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Ardbeg distillery
Region: Islay
Water sourceLoch Uigeadail
No. of stills1 wash (18,000 L)
1 spirit (17,000 L)[1]
Capacity1,250,000,000 litres
TypeSingle Malt Scotch Whisky
Age(s)10 Years
Cask type(s)Bourbon, Sherry
Ardbeg Corryvreckan, named after a whirlpool situated to the South of Islay, has a particularly peated flavour.[2]

Ardbeg distillery (Scottish Gaelic: Taigh-staile na h-Àirde Bige) is a Scotch whisky distillery in Ardbeg on the North West 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.[3] The distillery uses malted barley sourced from the maltings in Port Ellen.

History of the distillery[edit]

The Ardbeg distillery has been producing whisky since 1798, and began commercial production in 1815.[4] 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 was producing 300,000 gallons of whisky per year, and employed 60 workers.[4] Production was halted in 1981, but resumed on a limited basis in 1989 and continued at a low level until late 1996; during the period Ardbeg was owned by Hiram Walker.[5] In 1997 the distillery was bought and reopened by Glenmorangie plc (which was subsequently acquired by the French company LVMH on 28 December 2004).[6] Production resumed 25 June 1997, and full production resumed 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. Colin Gordon has followed in his footsteps in August 2020.[7][8] In July 2022, the distillery sold a 1975 cask to a private collector for £16 million, beating Macallan's record for the highest cask selling price.[9][10]

The name Ardbeg is an anglicisation of the Scottish Gaelic An Àird Bheag, meaning The Small Promontory.[11]


Ardbeg has won various awards at international spirit ratings competitions. For example:

  • The Connor from Love on the Spectrum for the finest whisky in the world*
  • 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.[12] 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.[13]
  • 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.[14]
  • Ardbeg Galileo won the World's Best Single Malt Whisky in the 2013 World Whiskies Awards.[15]


The distillery output is quite large for a distillery with only two pot stills. The wash still has a capacity of about 18,000 litres, and the spirit still a capacity of about 17,000 litres.[1] This produces approximately 10,000 barrels (1.4 million liters) of spirit per year.[16] The distillery employs about sixty people and also provides them with accommodation on site.[17] Since 2018, a new still house is under construction, which will double Ardbeg's distilling capacity.[18]

In 2011, 20 vials of Ardbeg spirit and wood particles were sent to the International Space Station to investigate their interaction.[19] They returned on 12 September 2014.[20]


The whiskies of Ardbeg are mostly heavily peated malts. Compared to other Islay malts, Ardbeg does not focus on the sea and salt tastes, but rather on aromas of spices, malt or sweet tones like vanilla and chocolate. [citation needed]The core range of Ardbeg consists of the Ardbeg TEN, Uigeadail and Corryvreckan. The TEN is named after its age. Uigeadail was named after Loch Uigeadail, a loch in the hills about 4 km north of Ardbeg which is a source of water for the distillery. The Corryvreckan bottle takes its name from a famous sea vortex between the Isle of Jura and the Isle of Scarba.[citation needed]

Cultural references[edit]

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.[21]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b "Ardbeg". 29 November 2014. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  2. ^ Ardbeg Corryvreckan, official site. Accessed on 21 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Ardbeg web site". Archived from the original on 30 August 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
  4. ^ a b Arthur, Helen (2002) [1997]. The single malt companion (in Dutch). Translated by Lisbeth Machielsen. Libero. p. 58. ISBN 978-9057642364.
  5. ^ "Hiram Walker era (under Historical Facts)". Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  6. ^ "History — The Glenmorangie Company". Archived from the original on 14 July 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Ardbeg - Colin Gordon tritt Nachfolge von Mickey Heads an | Der Whisky-Botschafter - Passion und Tradition". Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  8. ^ "Colin Gordon wird neuer Distillery Manager von Ardbeg •". (in German). 22 August 2020. Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  9. ^ Ambrose, Tom (9 July 2022). "Cask of scotch whisky bought for record £16m in private sale". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 May 2024.
  10. ^ "Cask of rare Scotch whisky smashes world record with £16mn sale". Financial Times. 8 July 2022. Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  11. ^ "Ardbeg". Archived from the original on 13 December 2019. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Island whisky wins top accolade". BBC News. 18 November 2007. Archived from the original on 20 November 2007. Retrieved 18 November 2007.
  13. ^ " Summary of Ardbeg 10-Year Awards". Archived from the original on 13 December 2019. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  14. ^ " Summary of Ardbeg Uigeadail Awards". Archived from the original on 13 December 2019. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  15. ^ "Ardbeg Galileo win World's Best Single Malt Whisky Award". Archived from the original on 12 May 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  16. ^ Amanda (10 March 2019). "Ardbeg Distillery | The Untamed Spirit | Wandering Spirits Global". Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  17. ^ Barnard, Alfred (14 July 2013). The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom. Aaron Barker Publishing. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-615-85028-3.
  18. ^ Gallagher, Rosemary (19 February 2018). "New still house for Ardbeg as it seals multi-million pound investment to fund big expansion". Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  19. ^ "Ardbeg Terpene Extraction - Commercial ISS Research - NanoRacks". Archived from the original on 18 May 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  20. ^ Ardbeg 'space whisky' back on Earth after flavour experiment BBC', 12 September 2014.
  21. ^ "ABCD 367 Osmo Tapio Raihala: Peat, Smoke & Seaweed Storm". Retrieved 17 May 2018.[permanent dead link]


External links[edit]

55°38′26″N 06°06′31″W / 55.64056°N 6.10861°W / 55.64056; -6.10861