SCOTLAND— Every year, on Ardbeg Day – the last Saturday of Islay’s Festival of Music and Malt – whisky fans gather to celebrate all things Ardbeg. For 2019, Ardbeg is preparing to close out the Feis Ile like never before. In a spectacular Caribbean twist, Ardbeggians everywhere are invited to swap their flat caps for elaborate headdresses as Ardbeg Day embraces a dash of carnival color.
This year, the Distillery is resurrecting the island’s carnival traditions. In an Islay time gone by on the last day of the Feis Ile Festival, locals transformed everything from tractors to tricycles into magnificent floats. If it had wheels, they decorated it. Honking and tooting its way through Port Ellen and eventually to Ardbeg, this typically Islay cavalcade of colour represents a long-standing love for festivity on the island.
Ardbeg Day will be held on Saturday, June 1, 2019. Inspired by Islay’s rich history of carnivals, Ardbeg will release Ardbeg Drum – a limited edition bottling imbued with the ultimate influence of carnival spirit, rum. In a first for the Distillery, Ardbeg have taken Ardbeg single malt from ex-Bourbon casks, and rested it awhile in ex-rum casks from the Americas to coax out tropical tastes.
Distillery manager Mickey Heads said: “The Ardbeg Day Carnival is about embracing all things tropical. From music and dance to food and fashion, we’re all set to revel in both culture and character. And we’re delighted to introduce Ardbeg Drum – a celebration of all of the mixed up, mashed up influences that make Ardbeg, Ardbeg. In Ardbeg Drum, a multitude of complex flavours parade across the palate – fragrant pine resin and woodsmoke dance alongside ripe banana and pineapple. Then lavender, liquorice and vanilla strut into a long, smoky finish. Preparations are well underway, but orchestrating a bash this breathtaking is no mean feat. The finer details are yet to be revealed, but rest assured, the Ardbeg Day Carnival 2019 will be a spectacle you won’t soon forget…”
Like all Ardbeg Days, the carnival crowds won’t just be gathering on Islay. Ardbeggians the world over will join in the rumbustious revelry as Ardbeg Drum is introduced in a flourish of confetti and streamers. Smoky malt lovers should remember that The Ardbeg Day Carnival is open to everybody, so feel free to grab some friends and enjoy the spectacle en masse.
Ardbeg prides itself on being The Ultimate Islay Malt Whisky. Established in 1815, Ardbeg is revered by connoisseurs around the world as among the peatiest, smokiest and most complex of all the Islay malts. Despite its smokiness, Ardbeg is renowned for its delicious sweetness, a phenomenon that has affectionately become known as “the peaty paradox.” During the 1980s and 1990s, Ardbeg suffered from an uncertain future and it was not until the brand was purchased by The Glenmorangie Company in 1997 that the Distillery was saved from extinction. Since then, the Distillery has risen like a phoenix and today Ardbeg is well established as a niche, cult malt, with a passionate following.