This article is sponsored by Ardbeg.
Ardbeg Day 2021 immerses itself in fantasy and heads online
- Emma Simmonds
- 27 May 2021
Raise a glass of their smoky new dram Ardbeg Scorch and get stuck into an event of epic proportions on Sat 5 Jun
Renowned for its super smoky flavour, Ardbeg is a multi-award-winning single malt, which has been distilled on the island of Islay since 1815, a place of pilgrimage for the single malt whisky faithful. It's a dram so beloved that it even has its own day, Ardbeg Day, a global celebration of all things Ardbeg, held annually on the final Saturday of Islay's Festival of Music and Malt (Fèis Ìle).
This year the festivities will unfold entirely online on Sat 5 Jun, via Ardbeg.com and social media. The folk at Ardbeg have certainly got creative to ensure a transportive, imaginative and engaging experience, embracing and expanding on local myth to give a fantastical background to the distillery's new limited edition, Ardbeg Scorch.
Taking tales of a local dragon, bravely slain, as inspiration, this smoky and sooty new brushed gold dram – which combines charred oak, grilled fare and black liquorice flavours with bold medicinal lozenge notes – is said to be the product of Ardbeg's own flavour-breathing beast. It's a truly heroic achievement.
Ardbeg Day's programme of virtual events begins with Dragon Tales at 12pm, with Ardbeg's very own Jackie Thomson sharing some of Islay's oldest legends – and one of its newer myths – to conjure a magical atmosphere and help set the tone for the day from her witch's lair. At 2pm join Ardbeg's mixology master and innkeeper Cameron George at The Dog & Dragon Inn for a mind-blowing mixology session. At 3pm the Feast Master, aka DJ BBQ, gets stuck into a cook-a-long, as he hits the pit with the aim of putting on the smokiest spread in the land.
A Dragon's Eye View at 4pm is an illuminating tour of Ardbeg's new stillhouse, while the Chairman's Study Live at 5pm will feature Ardbeg's distillery manager, Colin Gordon, hosting an exclusive tasting-by-request session during his first ever Ardbeg Day – a 'baptism of fire', in his own words – so dig out your favourites to taste along with him and get involved in the live chat. Finally, at 7pm the grand finale has been dubbed the Whisky Wizard's Lair, hosted live from the belly of the beast by Dr Bill Lumsden, the whisky wizard, who will be performing a live tasting of Ardbeg Scorch and sharing just what makes this fiery newcomer so special.
And don't forget to download the event's tasting kit beforehand to have a go at dragon origami, for recipes for some dragon-inspired cocktails, a few more dragon tales, and for DJ BBQ's take on the mighty mixed grill.
We'll leave it to the expert, Colin Gordon, to explain why whisky lovers and fantasy buffs alike should clear their diaries on Sat 5 Jun to join this utterly unique virtual celebration: '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.'
Ardbeg Scorch is available to buy from Ardbeg Embassies, whisky specialists, online retailers and from the distillery visitor centre while stocks last.
For more news on this event and other Ardbeg updates, join the Ardbeg Committee at Ardbeg.com