Buying a birthday, anniversary or any other gift for a whisky aficionado is often tricky – they can be a picky bunch – but with more than 200 years of whisky-making expertise in every single bottle, no one’s more qualified than the fine folk from Ardbeg to provide the perfect present for your favourite whisky lover. Located on the small, remote Scottish island of Islay – famous worldwide for the prowess of its master distillers – the town from which the Ardbeg distillery takes its name is home to just 20 people and one canine mascot – that would be Shortie, whom Ardbeg describes as being in possession of “the peatiest nose on Islay”.
The upside of this is that if Shortie’s given your gift the seal (or woof) of approval, you can feel confident that you’re on to a very good thing. With that in mind, here are three whiskies that are very much Shortie-endorsed, because they’re guaranteed to bring a smile to any whisky lover’s face (perhaps even your own).
Ardbeg 10 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
We hope you like your beverages smoky, because the Ardbeg 10 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is widely regarded as the peatiest, most complex single malt in existence. Saying that, Ardbeg’s experts have done an incredible job of ensuring the peat doesn’t become overpowering. While you might expect it to be so, the peat instead subsides to reveal the malt’s natural sweetness, resulting in a deliciously balanced flavour.
Named World Whisky of the Year in 2008, this non chill-filtered expression has a strength of 46% ABV and boasts a full body with remarkable depth. It remains an absolute delight from the first dram to the very last and we can’t imagine a better way to toast friends and family as we move further into the new year.
Ardbeg 5 Years Old Wee Beastie Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Aged at just five years, Ardbeg describes this whisky as the ‘enfant terrible’ of the whisky world. While there’s certainly a sense of the untamed about it, we just think it’s an absolutely cracking way of getting the party started, particularly if you’re an enthusiast for the smokier side of things.
While most single malts are distilled with the goal of developing a smoothness and balance as they age, the Wee Beastie’s relative youthfulness promises a more headstrong, smoky experience. That’s not to say that this non chill-filtered 47.4% ABV whisky lacks balance, quite the opposite. Ardbeg’s expert use of ex-bourbon and oloroso sherry casks in the maturation process ensures this is nothing short of a delicious dram that’s best shared, even if it maintains an impressive bite at the same time.
Ardbeg 19 Years Old Traigh Bhan Batch N°3 Single Malt Scotch Whisky
If you’re looking for a whisky that embodies everything Ardbeg stands for, you simply can’t go past this highly sought-after and collectable expression. Having been bottled in the midst of a global lockdown, it’s also quite a symbolic whisky to enjoy as we get back into the swing of congregating with those closest to us.
Serving up a medley of smoky and sweet flavours, this elite Ardbeg offering has been matured in a combination of American oak and oloroso sherry casks and its tempestuous mix of rich flavours lull and crescendo like the waves of Islay’s Traigh Bhan beach from which Ardbeg’s team took inspiration. If 2023 is already shaping up to be a year to remember, this non chill-filtered 46.2% ABV whisky will likely seal the deal.
No matter which of these smoky wonders from Ardbeg you use to toast those around you throughout 2023, you can rest assured that dram you’re savouring ranks amongst the very best whiskies in the world. After all, Shortie’s woof of approval doesn’t come easily.