Ardbeg’s Rollercoaster Duo: A Journey Through History in Two Exclusive Whiskies
Ardbeg Distillery, steeped in history and tradition, is showcasing its storied past with the launch of two extraordinary whiskies named The Rollercoaster. These single malts capture pivotal moments in Ardbeg’s journey: a 42-year-old whisky from 1981 marking the distillery’s closure, and a 33-year-old whisky from 1989 celebrating its revival under Allied Distillers.
The 1981 Vintage: A Glimpse into Ardbeg’s Brink of Closure
The first whisky, aged 42 years, represents the final cask from 1981, the year Ardbeg faced closure. Crafted from a mix of heavily peated malt (110ppm) from Ardbeg’s maltings and a lighter peated malt, this blend emulates the distinct ‘Kildalton-style’ whisky. Initially matured in ex-bourbon casks, it was then transferred to an oloroso sherry cask for a complex character.
1989 Vintage: Celebrating Ardbeg’s Revival
The second whisky, aged 33 years, commemorates Ardbeg’s 1989 resurgence. One of the last casks from its ‘rebirth’ year, it features malt supplied by Port Ellen Maltings, averaging 30–35ppm peating level. Like its counterpart, it was first aged in ex-bourbon casks before being moved to a refill bourbon cask.
Caspar MacRae, CEO of Ardbeg’s current owner, the Glenmorangie Company, reflects on these releases as symbols of Ardbeg’s journey from its precarious past to its current status as one of the world’s most collectible whiskies. He highlights the distillery’s investment in its community and the future of Ardbeg’s legendary smoky spirit.
Dr. Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s director of whisky creation, describes The Rollercoaster as a unique opportunity to experience contrasting tastes of Ardbeg’s heritage. He emphasizes the unique qualities of both expressions, capturing the essence of different eras at Ardbeg.
This exclusive duo, limited to 143 sets, is presented in a bespoke box designed by John Galvin and crafted from Scottish oak. Priced at 100,000€ / £85,000 per set, these collectible whiskies will be available worldwide through Moët Hennessy’s private client channel. Interested buyers can register at ardbeg.com or inquire at the distillery visitor center on Islay.