Ardbeg as most other distilleries claims to have been distilling illicitly since the 18th Century. John Mac Dougal officially licensed Ardbeg in 1815. One is immediately taken by the remoteness of the place and the sheer rugged natural beauty adds to the mystery. Not far from here stands the Kildalton Cross which dates back to the 6th Century and bears testament to the steadfastness and historic past.
If the Cross could talk it would speak of monks finding refuge from Norsemen and of smugglers moving their precious aqua vitae. The Museum will allow you to better understand the journey of Ardbeg. Whilst the distillery was hugely successful in the 19th century and early 20th century it was closed in the 1980’s and again in 1991. In 1997 its new owner Glenmorangie breathed life back into it converting the old barn and Kiln into a fine visitors centre and restaurant. This paid off almost immediately. You can join 50 000 plus fans around the world and become a committee member whose sole responsibility it is to ensure the doors never close again and that you spread the word of Islay’s ultimate dram.
The Spirit itself is made from one of the peatiest malts around with the phenol count of 54 ppm, the purifier on the rather strange spirit still somehow makes the spirit more elegant than one would expect. Add the predominant use of American White Oak and you have a subtle spicy dram with vanilla, tangy orange, rich cocoa butter and elegant silky smoke.