by Brian Small

I just love Ardbeg whisky and to my mind it is the greatest single malt scotch whisky that ever graced this earth. Of course I don’t expect you to simply take my word for it so I’ll do my best to show you exactly why Ardbeg comes out on top for me every single time.

When production of Ardbeg whisky ceased in the early 1980s it looked like the Ardbeg distillery had reached the end of its 166 year life, but thankfully a buyer in the shape of Glenmorangie was found for the distillery and the famous Ardbeg brand was back in business by the late 1990s.

I will now explain why I believe Ardbeg has risen to be such a force in the world of single malt scotch whisky.

The fact that many Ardbeg whiskies have an ABV (or Alcohol By Volume) content that is over the minimum 40% has proved to be a real vote winner for many whisky aficianados.

Ardbeg is considered to be one of the peatiest single malts around, yet in spite of this it tends to be very smooth on the palate, with a warming and lasting flavour.

The whisky that was first produced after the reopening of the distillery was launched in 2003 as a 6 year old whisky called Very Young. This was followed in 2006 and 2007 by Still Young and Almost There with the 10 year old Renaissance following shortly after.

Uigeadail, Blasda and Airigh Nam Beist are such wonderful labels to give varieties of whisky. Uigeadail takes its name from the loch where the Ardbeg distillery gets the water for its whiskies and Airigh Nam Beist means literally ‘shelter of the beast’. How’s that for inspiration?

OK, but names, branding, labels – whatever you want to call them – don’t make a whisky great on their own. So what other factors have helped Ardbeg to win Whisky of The Year Awards in recent years?

If you’re lucky or wise enough to have become a member of the Ardbeg committee you’ll know that Ardbeg just loves to release some very fine limited editions from time to time. As they are released in limited numbers a real buzz can spread about them as Ardbeg fans across the globe clamour to get their hands on one.

So there you have it, just some of the reasons why, for me, Ardbeg is Whisky of The Year every year and also The Ultimate Single Islay Malt Whisky. Of course there is one special thing about Ardbeg that I haven’t mentioned – to find that out you’ll just have to try some!

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