Along with Laphroaig and Lagavulin, Ardbeg is one of the three legendary ‘heavy hitters’ among the Islay malts. Ardbeg can trace its origins back to 1794, but suffered periods of closure from the 1980s onwards and latterly looked like becoming another statistic in the roll call of Scotland’s lost distilleries. Happily, Ardbeg was acquired by Glenmorangie in 1997, and a major investment programme followed. Today, the individualistic single malt has a dedicated following all over the world, and is one whisky that can be described as ‘iconic.’ The nose is quite sweet with soft peat, carbolic soap. Intense yet quite delicate on the palate, with smouldering peat and dried fruit, followed by sweeter notes of malt and a touch of liquorice. Extremely long and smoky in the finish, with a fine balance of cereal sweetness and dry peat notes.