Skip to main content

Ardbeg Whisky Is Out of This World

Old, established liquor brands usually take themselves pretty seriously. It’s all about the age, the cask, the heritage, which is all fine and good, but it sure is refreshing to find a brand that likes to have a little fun. Leave it to the Scots.
Ardbeg is one of those ancient Scottish whiskys that your granddad would most definitely appreciate. Established in 1815 (hold onto your kilts for the 200 year anniversary in 2015), the distillery is known for the peatiest and smokiest whisky. In the early 20th century Ardbeg was prized by blenders like Mister Johnny Walker, almost like a special ingredient back in the day. But the distillery was bought by another peat lovers’ whisky, Laphroaig, and Ardbeg was soon nearly completely shut down.  Glenmorangie bought the brand in 1996 and then Glenmorangie  was acquired by LVMH in 2006. Now their fate is secured and they are cozied up to a plethora of other luxury brands and yet they still get to keep that individuality and quirkiness Ardbeg is known for.
So how left field is Ardbeg? Well we spoke to Gregor Mina, their brand director, and he told us that they are the first whiskey to be in space! “We have a vial  of Ardbeg on the space station,” he told us with great Scottish gusto. To promote this moment in history, the company has sent out a full sized rocket on an 18 wheeler around America which stops at different events so that locals can learn more about this whopper of a whisky.

Ardbeg Distillery
Ardbeg Distillery Image used with permission by copyright holder

Gregor also gave us a bit of a backstory concerning Bourbon and Whisky:

– American whiskey is spelled with an ‘E’.

-American whiskey requires a new barrel every time. This probably stems from the timber lobby back in the 40s and 50s that was trying to provide American jobs.

-In Scotland they use seasoned barrels (and one’s from American whiskey distilleries). But they only use them twice. It’s like a tea bag, you wouldn’t use one more than twice either.

-Ardbeg will never release a whisky younger than ten years old. (Needless to say when Glenmorangie bought them, they had to wait 10 years until they sold the first bottle).

Ardbeg is located in a very old part of Scotland up in the Hebrides and is effectively situated on a peat bog. Laphroaig and Lagavulin are both next to them so they are in good company and it goes to show how popular the island is for whisky making. There are distillery tours around the island and apparently there is a van that circles the roads after business hours since often times whisky lovers are found passed out before they make it back to their hotel. Class!
We also asked Gregor for a recipe for the cooler days ahead and here is what he provided:
The Arbeg Bloody Mary
(Scots call it the Dirty Mary, ahem).
Simply replace vodka with Ardbeg and make it as spicy as possible and add a garnish of bacon.
Then crack open some oysters and pour in a bit of Ardbeg and eat them directly.
After several more Dirty’s we are sure you will be able to sing just like these guys.
To keep up with Ardbeg in the USA and their rocket whereabouts, ‘like’ their Facebook page.

Ardbeg
Ardbeg Image used with permission by copyright holder
Cator Sparks
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Cator Sparks was the Editor-in-Chief of The Manual from its launch in 2012 until 2018. Previously, Cator was covering…
Wagyu vs kobe beef: What’s the difference?
Do you know the difference?
Raw steaks

 

You've probably heard about Wagyu and Kobe beef - the extraordinarily flavorful, magnificently marbled, beautiful beef that looks like a gift from the gods. You might not have realized that Wagyu and Kobe are the same thing. Well, sort of. Kobe beef is simply one brand of Wagyu, and there are many other versions of Wagyu out there that are (almost) as delicious as Kobe. In other words, all Kobe beef is Wagyu, but not all Wagyu is Kobe.

Read more
No, the red juice in steak isn’t blood – here’s what it really is
The squeamish among us can rest easy
Rare steak on a plate

 

We've all heard it said — "the bloodier, the better." While we may agree with the sentiment, the delivery has always seemed a bit crass. What you might not have realized, though, is that it's also incorrect. That delicious flavor juice that makes our favorite steaks and burgers oh-so-moist and tender is not actually blood at all. So, what is the red juice in steak? Contrary to popular belief, this red, juicy, savory magic is actually something called myoglobin, or "purge" to those in the biz.

Read more
The Gibson cocktail is for you pickle lovers
This classic take on the Martini features a pickled twist
Gibson Cocktail

 

The most magical thing about getting into cocktail culture and home bartending is learning about unique, lesser-known, classic mixed drinks you might otherwise never learn about. We’re talking about drinks like La Louisiane, Fallen Angel, and the Gibson. And while we could spend all day writing about classic cocktails that have seemingly become lost in time, today it’s the Gibson’s turn.
What is the Gibson?

Read more