Ardbeg distillery is located in Islay's south coast and produces a world-famous heavily peated single malt. It was built in 1815 and had facilities for its workers and their families. It operated without incidents until the 1920's. During that decade, most distilleries in Scotland were having a difficult time keeping operational and profitable.
In 1959 the distillery was acquired by the mighty DCL and Hiram Walker from Canada. Up until then it was, like many other distilleries, a self-sufficient one. The distillery experienced a boom in production in the 1960's and early 1970's as blenders and the general public demanded more and more peated whisky.
Eventually, the distillery had to source barley from the nearby Port Ellen maltings. Hard core fans of Ardbeg so this as the end of an era. The days of Ardbeg's self-sufficiency were gone. In the early eighties, the distillery mothballed its maltings for good.
While blends were declining in popularity in the late 1970's, the distillery produced an unpeated whisky: Kidalton. The distillery closed down in 1981 and remained closed until 1989. After a brief period of operations, the distillery closed down again and there were talks about demolishing it in 1996. Luckily, the Glenmorangie distillery stepped in and paid £7 million for the facilities and what was left of the stock.
The distillery released a 17 year old for a few years and then a ten year old was added to the portfolio. These days the distillery has various releases without an age statement, some of them consist of only old stocks while others are blends of old and young stocks.
The spirit is produced using heavily peated barley from Port Ellen maltings, a long fermentation period and a purifier pipe during distillation.