Ardbeg has unveiled Ardbeg BizarreBQ, the distillery’s first-ever limited-edition barbecue-inspired whisky. Cooked up by Ardbeg’s Director of Whisky Creation, Dr Bill Lumsden, and Christian Stevenson (AKA DJ BBQ), this whisky captures and complements the flavors of smoky barbeque resulting in a Scotch that packs a meaty, peaty punch.
Grilling and distilling share a key element when it comes to the creation of flavor – fire. Using an experimental cask toasting process, the recipe for Ardbeg BizarreBQ is made up of double-charred oak casks, Pedro Ximénez sherry casks, and the distillery’s unique BBQ casks that have been extra-charred on an old-fashioned brazier. This cask combination comes together to imbue a sweet, tangy, and smoky flavor that’s perfectly suited to barbecuing.
On the nose, puffs of charcoal and soot mingle with smoky wood and aromatic herbs and spices, followed by treacle toffee, hickory smoked ham, and cinnamon-dusted espresso rise up. A splash of water releases distinctively sharp citrus aromas, along with herbal notes such as fennel and aniseed. Grilled artichokes and a suggestion of seared meat sizzle the senses. The undeniable smell of bonfire and BBQ embers linger in the background.
On the palate, the mouthfeel is alive with spice, like BBQ ribs smothered in chilli. A myriad of deep, warming smoke follows close behind in flame-grilled steak, chilli oil, cured leather, and clove. Ginger, aniseed, and tar crackle on the palate with an aromatic woodsmoke edge. The finish features a massive, hot aftertaste, which lingers on and on with more grilled artichoke, black olives, and a sooty note that slowly simmers away.
Bottled at 50.9% ABV, this limited-edition whisky has been inspired by the Islay Distillery’s ongoing collaboration with DJ BBQ, which began in 2020. Fuelled by a shared obsession for smoke and its rich flavor possibilities, Dr Bill and DJ BBQ have been on a mission to create a new Single Malt that complements both whisky-making and barbequing.
“Ardbeg BizarreBQ is certainly a hare-brained idea, but with DJ BBQ’s help I was able to cook up something truly incredible,” said Dr Lumsden. “Puffs of charcoal and soot mingle with smoky wood and aromatic herbs and spices. The undeniable smell of bonfire and BBQ embers linger in the background. Deep, warming smoke follows in flame-grilled steak, chilli oil, cured leather and clove. If there’s one Ardbeg you want with you grill-side, it’s this one.”
Christian Stevenson (DJ BBQ) added, “Barbeque lovers and Ardbeg lovers are one and the same – it’s all about the smoke – which is something Ardbeg BizarreBQ has in spades. I’ve been on a mission to create and perfect a variety of BBQ dishes and accompanying Ardbeg serves that honour the fundamental laws of smoke, wood and heat for some time. This new Limited-Edition Ardbeg takes this match made in heaven to the next level, and I can’t wait for BBQ and whisky fans to try it.”
Launching on June 1 in the United States, Ardbeg BizarreBQ Limited Edition will be available to buy from Ardbeg Embassies, whisky specialists, online retailers, and from the Distillery Visitor Centre for £75 ($92 USD). For more information, head over to the brand’s official website.