True whisky connoisseurs have long recognized Ardbeg as one of the peatiest, smokiest and most complex Islay malts. Ardbeg now has the hardware to back up its glowing reputation: The brand won Distillery of the Year at the International Whisky Competition this year.
How did Ardbeg take home one of the most prestigious and coveted awards in the spirits industry? You would have go all the way back to the distillery’s founding in 1815 to get the full story. Save some time and check out the five biggest reasons why Ardbeg is the 2018 Distillery of the Year.
Politicking can’t take you far in the International Whisky Competition because it’s decided by a blind taste test. The judges couldn’t resist the appeal of Ardbeg Uigeadail, describing it as “incredibly well balanced,so complex, yet so smooth.” That flavor profile was good for a score of 96.8 out of 100 and two awards: Best Single Malt (Islay) and Best Peated Whisky.
This isn’t only a reference to the depth of the smoky flavor of Ardbeg. It also has a deep collection of high-quality expressions of whisky beyond Ardbeg Uigeadail. Ardbeg An Oa, Corryvreckan, Ten Years Old and Grooves are all distinct expressions that earned a score higher than 91. It’s no surprise that the Distillery of the Year got straight A’s.
It’s impossible to overstate the effect casks have on whisky. That’s why Ardbeg obsesses over which cask to use for each expression. Uigeadail is aged in ex-sherry casks to add luscious raisin tones to the traditional smoky flavor of Ardbeg, while Corryvreckan uses French white oak to keep this bold and peaty dram perfectly balanced. Inspired choices like those are how you become the 2018 Distillery of the Year.
What’s even more important to whisky than casks? The people behind it. And no one has a more passionate and knowledgeable team than Ardbeg. Sylvain Allard, the managing director at the International Whisky Competition, recognized this factor. “Ardbeg winning shows the master skills of Dr. Bill Lumsden (the director of distilling, whisky creation and whisky stocks for Ardbeg) and the distillery’s whisky creation team at marrying the right casks together,” he says.
Ardbeg has been in the whisky business for more than two centuries, but 2018 is a new high point for the Ultimate Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Celebrate the 2018 Distillery of the Year by picking up a bottle today.