Ardbeg was first licensed to produce alcohol (well, a farm owned on the site was) in 1815. Ardbeg has been owned by various companies, opened and closed down over the years - most recently, it was closed in 1980, sold in 1990 to a new firm and used to make only new (raw) spirits for blending, then sold to Glenmorangie PLC in 1997 and ramped up to produce actual whisky again. Glenmorangie was put up for sale in 2004 as a family company, and LVMH (Louis Vuitton blah blah) purchased the Glenmorangie distilleries (Glenmorangie, Glen Moray, Ardbeg) to add malt whisky to their stable of beverages. The distillery has been almost fully rebuilt since the 1980-1990 shutdown.
I have purchased a bottle of the evilly-marketing-droid-named 'Serendipity.' The story they tell at the distillery is that several barrels of very old Ardbeg had been removed to a bottler's in (Glasgow?) to be packaged, and hence emptied into a holding tank for the bottling system. There was an oops, and someone emptied a quantity of Glen Moray into the same tank, ending up with an 80/20 mix of Ardbeg to Glen Moray. The Glen Moray is a highland malt, sweet and floral, and Ardbeg is...well...not. After (presumably) heads rolled, someone got around to drinking some of it (no doubt with a sorrowful mien, or possibly with a 'haha, look what we get for free!' mien) and it was...tasty.
Enter the marketdroids.
Hence, the Serendipity. It's a blend, technically - a blend of two single malts, 80/20. It's also pretty damn yummy, I think. They have (they claim) no plans to do it again, having had no plan to do it the first time, if you believe 'em - which I might, old Ardbeg being rare enough that mixing it on a marketer's say-so seems foolhardy when the stuff sells mighty well all by its lonesome. It's Ardbeg, but with a nice sweetness running through it - not quite as brickbat-to-the-head-peat as the usual stuff. So they have a couple thousand bottles...while I'm sure distributers in the U.S. can get it if they try, why the hell not?
Posted by jbz at May 24, 2005 9:38 PM