Ardbeg has a Visitor Centre which incorporates the Old Kiln Café, which has built up a considerable reputation amongst both locals and visitors. The distillery is open for visitors: November to March, Monday to Friday, 9.30am - 5pm; April to October 7 day opening. Best to call ahead for tours, particularly in high summer. Last orders for the Café are at 4.00pm.
Tours cost £5. Full Range Tour £15 - taste all the Ardbegs; Deconstructing the Dram (with Warehouse 3 Tasting) £35; Ardbeg across the Decades (with Sounds) £35; Walk to the Water Source - with drams along the way - when it's not too wet! £35; there may be other special tours - especially in 2015 for the 200th anniversary Timings vary during the year, so check the website.
Ardbeg is the last of the three distilleries in quick succession on the road out of Port Ellen - often referred to as the Kildalton distilleries, all renowned for peated whisky.
In the 1990s Ardbeg and its neighbour Laphroaig were both owned by Allied Distilleries, but Ardbeg was only in production sporadically, and closed completely in 1996. In 1997 Glenmorangie bought the distillery, renovated it and returned it to full production. In 2004 the distillery released Very Young - the first of the spirit distilled by the new owners (though there had been a Committee only bottling the year before). Further releases (Still Young, Almost There and Renaissance) continued until the spirit could be released as a 10 year old. Before then Glenmorangie plc was sold to Moët Hennessy in 2005.
Ardbeg is the most heavily peated of all the Islay malts (apart from Bruichladdich's Octomore), and has a fanatical following by peat freaks.
Malt Madness, Undiscovered Scotland, Wikipedia, WhiskyMerchants.co.uk The Ardbeg Project SMWS (33)
Click the map's Google logo to go to Google Maps - for Directions, Street View etc.
Open Cycle Map Bing Map Nearby: Lagavulin Laphroaig Jura
Ardbeg Distillery is about 3 miles east of Port Ellen at the end of the A846.
Port Ellen is one of the two ports on Islay served by CalMac from Kennacraig Winter Summer). Getting to Kennacraig? - see main Islay page.
The core range is the 10 year old (46%), Uigeadail (named after the loch which provides the water for the distillery, and includes some ex-Sherry casks as well as Ardbeg's normal ex-Bourbon - bottled at 54.2%), Corryvreckan (named after the whirlpool north of Jura - bottled at 57.1%), Supernova (extra peated, bottled at 60.1%), and Blasda (less peated - it means sweet and delicious according to the Ardbeg site and is bottled at 40%). All bottles except Blasda are non chill-filtered. In addition there are often limited edition bottlings.
The legendary Lord of the Isles (25yo 46%), named after the title of the ancient rulers of the Western Isles - based on Islay at Finlaggan and also Dunnyvaig Castle between Ardbeg and Lagavulin - is long discontinued but can still be obtained - for a price (about £1,000).
Since being bought by Glenmorangie, all Ardbeg spirit has been bottled by the distillers, but there are still some older independent bottlings available, most notably from Gordon & MacPhail - and the SWMS connection with Glenmorangie ensures they still get some casks.
LFW, RMW, TWE
Islay Cycles 07760 196592
Run from the Port Ellen Boatyard in the Business Park (behind the White Hart Hotel). Not a shop as such, but hire, sales, accessories and repairs available - see website/ring for further details.
Brian Palmer describes himself as "the only cycle repairer and spare parts person in Bowmore", and can be contacted via Catherine MacTaggart who hires bikes from Bowmore Post Office (01496 810366). Bike hire in Port Ellen 01496 302053.
Velo Club d'Ardbeg - buy the cycle jersey to join!
Washing Machine Post - Brian Palmer's Islay centric cycling site
Nearest Cycle Shops Lochgilphead (18 miles from Kennacraig), Oban
Nevis Cycles 87 George Street, Oban 01631 566033
David Graham 13-15 Combie Street, Oban 01631 562069
Crinan Cycles 34 Argyll Street, Lochgilphead 01546 603511
Photos on this page were taken by me. Click on photo to enlarge. Full size versions of all my photos of Ardbeg Distillery are available on Flickr.