by Brian Small

Ardbeg whisky just has to be the best single malt whisky on the world. With over 140 different single malts to choose from I know that that probably sounds like a very contentious statement, so I will now aim to prove my point.

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.

There are quite a few different Ardbeg whiskies and many of them are bottled with a higher ABV (Alcohol By Volume) percentage than the minimum 40%. This of course goes down well with all whisky lovers!

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.

As for some of the other varieties, just contemplate these names for while: Uigeadail, Blasda, Airigh Nam Beist. These evocative and inspiring names have surely added to the magic of Ardbeg. Just thinking about these names makes me want to know more about them and the whiskies they adorn.

So apart from a great taste, high levels of alcohol, mysterious names and some adept marketing, what else makes Ardbeg such a firm favourite with so many whisky connoisseurs?

Members of the Ardbeg committee will tell you that Ardbeg has a sense of humour. The welcome pack new members receive not only has some invaluable tasting notes but also some drinking songs and some rather quirky and light-hearted rules and regulations to ponder whilst sipping their favourite dram.

I guess I could also tell you which of the Ardbeg varieties is my favourite. But I’m not entirely sure I could single one out. If pushed I’d probably say it was a toss up between the beast and the Ardbeg 25 year old, but don’t just take my word for which is the best – have a dram or three for yourself!

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