Ardbeg has unveiled its 2021 limited edition Scotch whisky bottling made specifically for the Fèis Ìle festival, Scorch. Every year, the LVMH-owned distillery marks the final Saturday of the annual Islay festival with Ardbeg Day, a global celebration of the brand. This year it’ll be celebrated on June 5.
Ardbeg Scorch was matured in heavily charred ex-Bourbon American oak casks. The bottling was named after a legendary dragon that once resided on Islay. “Islay folk have long told tales of the island’s dragon, bravely slain by a heroic warrior many moons ago,” says Ardbeg about the story behind the dram. “On 5 June 2021, Ardbeggians around the world will celebrate Ardbeg Day with a new whisky created in homage to this ‘true myth’. It is said this fiercely delicious dram is the mouthwatering product of Ardbeg’s own flavour-breathing beast, who dwells in Dunnage Warehouse No. 3, scorching staves and burning barrels.”
“Ardbeg Scorch is our tribute to the legendary dragon of Islay,” said Dr Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s director of distilling and whisky creation. “By using our most heavily-charred casks, we’ve created a fire-breathing beast of a dram.”
On the nose, the whisky offers, “frightening, intense aromas of soot and smoke. Hints of aniseed and fragrant patchouli are intertwined with strong notes of hardened steel and saddle soap. With a drop of water, herbal top notes of briar, sage and pine come to the fore,” says the distillery. The Palate is described as follows, “With the first sip, an abundance of aromas opens up. Oily, meaningful with a cloud of sweet smoke and dragon-charred oak. Grilled food is interwoven with notes of black liquorice and medicinal lozenges.” The finish features, “a long and heroic finale, with a light, tarry aftertaste that stretches happily and far to the end.”
Bottled at 46% ABV, Ardbeg Scorch is to purchase from Ardbeg Embassies, whisky specialists, online retailers and from the Distillery Visitor Centre beginning May 27, 2021. It is priced at £100 ($139 USD).
Unfortunately, Fèis Ìle 2021 has been forced online by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, there will be a variety of events perfect for all Islay Scotch lovers.
“This year will be my first Ardbeg Day ever: a baptism of fire,” said Colin Gordon, Ardbeg’s distillery manager. “It’s a shame we Ardbeggians can’t enjoy it together in person, but the online event is shaping up to be tremendous fun. With a whole virtual world to explore, including fantasy inns, campfire tales, medieval feasts and live tastings, there’s plenty for people to be excited about this year.”
Earlier this year, Ardbeg added a 25-year-old expression to its core range – the oldest permanent Scotch whisky bottling from the brand. For Fèis Ìle 2020, the distillery released a limited edition bottle of Blaaack.