Ardbog day with WhiskyBrother and Ardbeg

A bit late, but better late than never, is my write-up on the Ardbeg day tasting held by WhiskyBrother.  This was an event that sold out very quickly, especially once one read which Ardbeg whiskies we would be tasting, as it would be a vertical tasting of six Ardbegs’. The venue for the gathering of us Ardbeggians for this auspicious event was the Pimento bistro in Illovo.

Welcoming us to the event was Marc Pendlebury, the “Chief Ardbeggian Officer” for the evening, who was looking very spiffy in his Ardbog day t-shirt. You were greeted with an Ardbeg 10YO as a welcome drink and as you wound your way to a seat, you were greeted to the sight of a chained up Ardbeg 10YO, the whiskies for the tasting and all the empty glasses lined up and waiting to receive the ‘water of life’.

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The whiskies in our tasting line up were:

  • Blasda – 40% ABV
  • Still Young – 56.2% ABV
  • Almost There – 54.1% ABV
  • Galileo – 49% ABV
  • Corryvreckan – 57.1% ABV
  • Supernova 2010 – 60.1% ABV

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But first they had to be poured into the eagerly waiting glasses. This sacred duty fell to Chief Ardbeggian Officer Marc to fulfil and to ensure that each Ardbeggian got their fair share.

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Once all poured and distributed the tasting began, with Marc leading the tasting and sharing with us anecdotes, stories and the history of Ardbeg. Soon the room was filled with the usual murmurs and mutterings of a tasting, which naturally steadily increased in volume as each dram was tasted and savoured.

Once all whiskies were tasted, relished, discussed and appreciated some more it was time for us to reveal which ones we enjoyed the most and which particular one was our favourite (for the evening at least). This was an almost impossible task for me as I thought they were all good and that each one had its own set of characteristics and peculiarities that made them interesting and delicious.

Anyway, after much deliberation I felt that my top Ardbeg, from the line up for that evening, was the Corryvreckan. It was very closely (extremely closely actually) followed by the Supernova 2010, and then by the Almost There and the Galileo.

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This really was an excellent evening with special tasting that I believe to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for most of us (it certainly was for me). A huge thank you to Marc of WhiskyBrother for arranging and putting together such a wonderful and extraordinary tasting of Ardbeg.

So here’s to Ardbeg Day 2014 in South Africa. May it be even bigger, better and bolder!


The Smoky Dram Whisky Blog

Ardbeg day 2013 is Ardbog day

The time is very near for that special day each year that Ardbeggians celebrate – Ardbeg Day! For this year it is to be known as Ardbog day – 1st June 2013.

And in celebration for this day The Smoky Dram now sports a fetching Ardbeg green link colour scheme.

Ardbeg’s Ardbog Day

ArdbogDay_The Smoky Dram

Rai Banbury, senior brands manager, says, “The Islay Ardbeg Festival has become a key date in the calendar of malt whisky lovers worldwide. Every year Ardbeg creates a unique and fun way for our Ardbeg fans to celebrate Ardbeg and the much anticipated limited edition release.” This latest limited edition release is called Ardbog and will be released on ‘Ardbog Day’.

The name Ardbog was chosen to highlight the peat bogs of Ardbeg’s island home Islay and the part they play in the whisky making process. The unique peat bogs contain highly aromatic plants that when used to dry malted barley gives Ardbeg whiskies their distinctive smoky flavour.

Ardbog has deep, enticing waves of pecan nuts, salty toffee & caramels, fudge, leather and a distinct whiff of herbs, lavender and violets. The smoke is soft and aromatic, and is interwoven with savoury notes, like Iberico ham (de bellota) and olives.

South Africa’s Ardbog Day and first African Ardbeg Embassy

We all dig PEAT! South Africa will celebrate all things peaty with the launch of the first African Ardbeg Embassy, Wild About Whisky, on world Ardbog day. This will be an opportunity for current and future Ardbeggians to comPEAT in some uniquely Ardbeg activities. The shinDIG will begin with an Ardbeg procession starting on main road at the Cricket oval (in Dullstroom) at 12:00. Do not rePEAT this as there are only 100 tickets available – which sadly are all Sold Out!

Unfortunately the other Ardbeg day event in South Africa (of which I know) is also Sold Out! This event is being hosted in Johannesburg by WhiskyBrother Shop and this event promises Ardbeg shenanigans and a chance to sample some very special Ardbeg drams. I was very fortunate to book in time for this and shall report on the special drams and any shenanigans that may happen with photographic evidence where possible.

I find it encouraging that both South African events sold out so quickly, both virtually within only a couple of days from the announcements being made by the respective hosts. The other promising point is the launch of first African Ardbeg Embassy. Hopefully this will result in more exposure for Ardbeg in South Africa and more importantly enable more Ardbeg whisky expressions to make its way to SA! Currently the only expression commercially available here the Ardbeg 10YO.


The Smoky Dram Whisky Blog