DramVentures Islay Epic 2016 ~ Ardbeg
Distillery – Ardbeg
Tour – Full Range Tour and Tasting
Cost – £20
Host – Dionne
So where else would we go when we get off a ferry on Islay at 9:30am? Ardbeg of course! This turned out to be a brilliant first distillery for our trip for so many reasons…
First of all, the main thing that struck me was just how beautiful this wee section of Islay is. The team at Ardbeg really have done an excellent job in how they present the distillery. You can’t help but notice how clean and well maintained everything is but the main centre piece is the copper still in the grounds.
When we arrived we were welcomed in by the staff, who really were fantastic. We had some time to look around the gift shop before we set off on the Full Range Tour and Tasting experience priced at £20. There’s loads of great stuff there and although tempted to buy one of the coats from there, I didn’t fancy getting stick at every other distillery that we turned up to!
We were met by ‘Dionne’ who was our host for the tour and tasting. She was friendly, very knowledgeable and took us for a tour around the distillery, which included a taste of the ‘wash’ recovered via the traditional ‘copper dog’. I personally think that they should make an Ardbeg beer as well because that was very tasty!
Next, it was onwards to the stills, which are designed specifically to catch the heaviest elements of the spirit as they are wide and angled downwards at the top. Always good to know!
Once the tour was over, it was on to the tasting…huzzah!
The tasting room is set at the back of the main restaurant and is a cosy wee room set for maybe ten people max, which we thought was a great idea. It makes people on the tour interact and that always gives a better experience.
Of course, there was the usual polite quietness to start but once we were all a few drams in, conversation started flowing and we had a great time.
- Ardbeg 10 year old.
- Ardbeg Perpetuum Distillery Release.
- Ardbeg Uigeadail.
- Ardbeg Supernova.
- Ardbeg Corryvreckan.
Dionne took us through the drams and had a very relaxed style of running the tasting, which we thought was excellent. A lot of places can be slightly formal, which makes getting conversation going quite awkward sometimes but there was none of that there!
I think it’s fairly easy to say that this was a fantastic set of drams to kick off our time on Islay! For me personally, the Supernova was the star of the show, but we all had different favourites, so that speaks for itself.
After our tasting we went for food in the café, which was excellent. Very reasonably priced, great service and a belly full of their mac and cheese set me up beautifully for the day!
Overall, Ardbeg was an impressive place to visit with excellent staff but most importantly…drams that were superb. The Full Range Tour and Tasting is a steal at only £20…great value for money and highly recommended.