ENTER ISLAY TIME…
The small, remote Scottish island of Islay (pronounced 'eye-lah') is an antique land. A wild and untamed place, where Celtic monks found refuge from raiding Norsemen and early distillers smuggled their illicit ‘aquavitae’ at Ardbeg’s rugged rocky cove.
Abundant soft water, fertile soil and acres of precious peat makes this island a place of pilgrimage for the single malt whisky faithful. And none more so than our very own Ardbeg, unquestionably the greatest distillery on Earth.
EXPLORE THE ISLAND
There are thousands of reasons to visit Islay...
Output first topped a million litres a year at Ardbeg back in 1887. After a few hiccups over the centuries, we’re back on track today.
The daily distance travelled by our Ardbeg-crafted molecules above Islay aboard the International Space Station, making us the world’s first Distillery in space.
In Autumn and Winter Islay plays host to 70 percent of the world’s Barnacle Geese, when 37,000 of them pay us a visit and roost at Loch Gruinart, which is 22 miles from Ardbeg as the goose flies.
Of peaty earth. Fertile crops, soft water and peat in abundance makes Islay the natural place to establish a Distillery such as Ardbeg.
Often to be found wandering on roads. The main cause of traffic hold ups on the way to Ardbeg.
The Bronze Age came to Islay 4,000 years ago. More recently, in 1886 a Mrs Ramsay documented the find of a bronze sword on Islay discovered by a farmer cutting peat. Artefact presumed to have perished in a fearsome fire at Kildalton Castle, yet could well be hanging above an unsuspecting Ileach’s mantelpiece. Replica sword commissioned and recreated by the Ardbeg Distillery in 2013.
The population of the village of Ardbeg numbered 200 at its height in the 1800s. Today Ardbeg inhabitants number less than 20. Or the ‘lucky few’, as we like to call them.
Fallow, Roe and magnificent Red Deer, roam Islay. Herds have been known to swim to neighbouring island Jura, as well as munch pansies painstakingly planted by Dugga at the Distillery.
The magnificent carved stone Kildalton Cross is one of the finest and earliest examples of a Christian cross in Scotland. The Ardbeg Distillery sits within the parish of Kildalton and Oa.
The source of Ardbeg’s water, Loch Uigeadail, is a punishing hike up into the hills above the Distillery. Not for the fainthearted! Visitors are required to perform the Loch and Key ritual and return a dram to the Loch.
It’s a curious fact that one small island with just 3000 inhabitants has 140 Committees. So in 2000 we created one more – the world famous, worldwide Ardbeg Committee.
Islay born and bred, our 20th Distillery Manager, Mickey Heads is the current custodian of our beloved Distillery.
No wonder Islay is an island of pilgrimage for the worldwide single malt whisky faithful and the home of the greatest distillery on earth.
The length of the road from Port Ellen to Ardbeg, where many a visitor has hitched a lift to the Distillery.
In 2015, the world raised a dram as we celebrated our incredible bicentenary.
There are no traffic signals on Islay, apart from frequent friendly waves from fellow motorists.