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The first record of a distillery at Ardbeg dates back to 1794 and it is believed that whisky has been produced at the site since then, although it is said that the current distillery was not legally or officially founded until 1815 by John MacDougall.
The distillery is well known for its production of heavily peated malts. While other Islay malts are known for their combination of peat and sea-salt due to coastal influences of their location, Ardbeg tend to focus more on sweet and spicy tones to complement their peated spirit. A rise in demand for peated whisky saw production increase rapidly in the 1960’s and 70’s. This meant that the distillery needed to bring in peated malt from Port Ellen from 1974 to cover demand.
In March 1981 the distillery was mothballed but restored again in 1989, however in 1996 the distillery fell silent again until just one year later when Glenmorangie took ownership of the distillery and all its stock for £7m. Over the years Ardbeg has built a cult status and has a following of fans spanned across the globe.
Ardbeg has won numerous awards over the years and has been voted as ‘World Whisky of the Year’ 4 times.