Ardbeg marks Fèis Ìle with Port-aged whisky

In celebration of Ardbeg Day on 1 June, the Islay distillery is releasing a whisky aged in Port casks.

Named Ardbeg Spectacular, Ardbeg’s Bourbon cask-matured whisky has been aged in Port wine barrels, which the distillery said ‘brings a tumbling richness and an acrobatic twist of colour to the Islay malt’.

Master blender Gillian Macdonald expanded on this: “Ardbeg Spectacular is a high-flying spirit, very befitting of Ardbeg Day. Its years in Bourbon and Port casks create a spectacle of flavours, the likes of which Ardbeggians will never have tasted before.

“We invite fans to roll up and feast their palates on its peculiar notes of mint chocolate, incense, lavender and smoked nuts, set off by a daring double act of salted caramel and tar. Like the finest performances in the circus ring, this is a whisky not to be missed.”

For this year’s Ardbeg Day, the brand is inviting guests to its distillery for a ‘dark circus’, which it described as an ‘offbeat and smoky Ardbeggian take on the circus’, including tastings and games.

Ardbeg Spectacular’s notes consist of candied fruit, incense candles and smoked pecans on the nose, dark chocolate and mint on the palate, and a finish that lingers with salted caramel and cooling menthol.

Bottled at 46% ABV, it will retail from 23 April for £110 (US$137).

This year’s Islay’s Festival of Music and Malt, also known as Fèis Ìle, occurs between Saturday 25 May and Saturday 1 June. Ardbeg Day traditionally falls on the festival’s final Saturday.

To mark the occasion last year, the brand launched a single malt called Heavy Vapours.

Distillery visitor centre manager, Jackie Thomson, added: “This Ardbeg Day we will celebrate our whisky in the most spectacular style – from this new limited edition, to our core range favourites like our 10 Year Old.

“I’m looking forward to entering into the spirit of the circus with fans at the distillery, online and across the globe on 1st June, as we come together to juggle big, bold smoky flavours and marvel at the phenolic phenomenon that is Ardbeg.”

The distillery, owned by LVMH, will also spend millions to transform its Islay Hotel, which will reopen in May 2025 as a ‘world-class whisky and hospitality experience’.

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