Ardbeg has launched its First Ardbeg Embassy in Southeast Asia

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CONTENT: Yiew Kai Jie

Smoky, peaty along with a mild fruity balance. These are the basic characteristics behind a classic bottle of Ardbeg. Being known for it’s exceptionally smoky taste, Ardbeg has since risen to being one of Islay’s most popular whiskies- which inspired them to launch its first Ardbeg Embassy nine years ago. Since then, the concept has been rolled out globally in Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong and China. Ardbeg has recently announced the opening of Southeast Asia’s first Ardbeg Embassy here in Singapore, located at The Grande Whisky Collection at the 5th floor of Ion Orchard.

Global Ambassador Hamish Torrie was in Singapore specifically for the Ardbeg Embassy launch. Having been with The Glenmorangie Company for 20 years, Hamish has been one of the major driving force in Ardbeg’s journey to become the ‘Ultimate Islay Whisky’ it is today.

As the designated spiritual outpost for all things Ardbeggian, the embassy serves as a sanctuary for Ardbeg enthusiasts and its committee to congregate and revel in Islay’s cult-favourite and peatiest whisky. Cementing ties to the distillery itself, each Ardbeg Embassy gets access to a whole host of privileges, including visits from global brand ambassadors and whisky makers as well as exclusive access to limited edition releases.

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The decision to designate The Grande Whisky Collection as Singapore’s first Ardbeg Embassy was an easy one. The Grande Whisky Collection was home to over 2,500 Japanese and Scottish whiskies, one of the largest collections of fine and rare whiskies in Asia. Slated to open to the public in mid-June, The Grande Whisky Collection offers personalised tours and exclusive tasting sessions for its guests, taking them on a journey from the islands and highlands of Scotland through to Japan.

An untamed spirit redolent of the history of Islay, an island where Celtic monks found refuge from raiding Norsemen, and early distillers smuggled their illicit ‘aquavitae’ at Ardbeg Cove. Ardbeg reflects the raw, human, primal nature of its island home. It shares the wild personality of Islay with its rugged coastline, wild peat bogs, mist-capped hills and brooding lochs. Challenging and uncompromising – Ardbeg is the peatiest (most phenolic at 55ppm), smokiest, sweetest, deepest, most complex and yet, the most supremely balanced of all Islay malts. The Ardbeg core collection includes The Ardbeg Ten, The Ardbeg An Oa, The Ardbeg Uigeadail and The Ardbeg Corryvreckan, all of which are non chill-filtered.(The process of chill filtering is where substances in the whisky are removed before bottling mainly for cosmetic reasons)

The Collection

Here’s what we thought of the core collection:

The Ardbeg Ten is the brand’s flagship classic bottle of whisky. It smells of lime, smoked bacon, menthol and black pepper and tastes of espresso and liquorice that leaves a really and lingering smoky aftertaste in the throat. A slight dash of water helps to soften the harshness of the scent and brings out that essence of the whisky.

The An Oa is the newest bottle in the core collection, different types of ardbeg whisky are combined together in a vat to marry together for their flavours to merge together to create the unique aroma and sweetness of the whisky. This whisky is much more smoother and rounder than the Ardbeg Ten in terms of flavour contrast. It smells of fruits, has a smooth creamy texture that develops into the sweetness of milk chocolate, toffee and just a tinge of smoky tea leaves. The finish is rather gentle yet slightly intense with essences of aniseed, hickory and subtle smokiness.

The Uigeadail (Gallic for a dark and mysterious place) was launched back in 2003, and it turns out to be the favourite whisky of the Ardbeg community. The whisky has an intense ashfire scent that is so rich and smoky that it pairs well with a cigar after dinner. The scent alone is not overly harsh or burning, it just has sweet, smooth and rich flavours present in the drink and its aftertaste – making it a to-die-for whisky for all the Whisky fanatics out there.

The Corryvreckan is the strongest whisky out of the four bottles that contains a high alcohol percentage of 57%. This range has a new French Oak maturation that is only used to make this exclusive edition of Ardbeg whisky. The smell of the Corryvreckan is rather strong, with elements of menthol in the whiff. The taste of the whisky is enough to make you spitter and cough out loud, especially if this is your first glass of whisky due to the extreme spiciness that makes one feel like he just ate 10 Jalapeno peppers at one go and they all bombarded the tongue at the same time. The aftertaste is rather extraordinary, once one gets over the spice bomb that coats the tongue, the flavour of the whisky turns into a sweet yet slightly vanilla-flavoured smokiness that will lasts for the next few hours.

For more information please visit: www. Ardbeg.com

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