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Type: Islay

Known for: the heaviest peat in the industry

And: huge flavours. Brace yourself


Ardbeg distillery, Port Ellen, Islay, Argyll, PA42 7EA. 01496 302244


Home of the massive peat hit, Ardbeg isn’t just about delivering a knockout blow. Like a hammer in a velvet glove, whiskies here can also surprise with the rich flavours going on behind all that smoke. And with no Ardbeg at all going into blends any more, the only place you’ll find its influence is in the distillery’s own bottlings.

Ardbeg is the only distillery we’ve yet seen to use a purifier within the distilling process. This recycles the heavier alcohols to richen up the flavours and infuse the traditional Ardbeg smoke with a deep sweetness. This certainly seems to be doing the job.

The distillery itself walks a great balance between being a fine tribute to the heritage of whisky production and a very pleasant place to while away a few hours, without falling too far into the overtly twee ‘kilts and cottages’ camp as found down the road in Lagavulin, or all over Speyside.

For anyone planning a visit, it’s worth noting the distillery café does some of the best food on the island so plan to hit it around lunchtime.

Buy Ardbeg Scotch whisky from:

Ardbeg tasting notes:

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