Ardbeg Distillery

Ardbeg, along with its neighbours Lagavulin and Laphroaig, produce the kind of intensely peated, medicinal and saline whiskies for which the island of Islay is known. Established in 1786, with commercial production commencing in 1815, the distillery was, for the majority of its life, dedicated to producing whisky destined for blends—as many Scottish distilleries were. Ardbeg continued to chug along until production was halted in 1981, only to resume at a very low level in 1989 through to 1996—a period under the ownership of Hiram Walker. Glenmorangie PLC purchased the distillery in 1997, which now sits under the LVMH mantle.

After reopening in 1997, with full production resuming in 1998, Ardbeg embarked on a remarkable decade of growth under the stewardship of Stuart Thompson. Beginning with an initial release of 17 Year Old, the distillery produced vintage and single cask whiskies that were greeted with fervor and admiration by whisky lovers across the globe. Since then, Ardbeg have established a core range of whiskies and limited edition releases that have truly established the distillery as one of the world’s finest. It is remarkable, looking back, to think that this great distillery was closed as recently as 1996.

Alongside the distillery releases of Ardbeg, of which the 10 Year Old is a brilliant example of fruity, peated single malt, there has been a surge of interest in independent bottlings of contemporary liquid, as well as historic bottlings. Those from the late 1970s garner particularly intense interest, coming from a period when the distillery housed floor maltings, removed by an act of grave lack of foresight by Hiram Walker. The distillery now acquires malted barley from the maltings at Port Ellen.