Ardbeg lies on the most southerly part of Islay and on the rugged shore of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a small operation, making just over one million litres a year on one pair of stills, a tenth of the amount that Glenfiddich is capable of. The stills are stubborn old beasts, unpredictable and untamable, regularly throwing tantrums and sulkily refusing to play along with the stillmen. However they produce a complex, distinct, sweet and peaty spirit. It is matured on-site in warehouses just a few yards from the shoreline. Ardbeg distillery was rescued in 1997 by the Glenmorangie Company who took it on when it was it a sorry state, its farmhouse-like still houses and production areas badly neglected, in need of some serious repair work. Since then, the distillery has been restored to its former glory
The Corryvreckan is named after a large and vicious whirlpool off the coast of Islay and close to the island of Jura which has claimed scores of lives over the years and wrecked dozens of boats. The writer George Orwell nearly lost his life to the phenomenally powerful vortex while he was staying on Jura while writing the novel 1984.
The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Successfully pulls off that very difficult feat of marrying fruity sweet wine notes with sharp, gristy and industrial Islay smoke.
Palate: It bristles with intense Barolo or Rioja like red wine notes and intense acrid coal smoke. It's a brutal malt, brilliantly balanced but hard-edged and flinty. Quite stunning.
Finish: Full and forever.
Retails for around £65-70