Ardbeg's The Rollercoaster Set Captures Distillery's Korean Drama Worthy Closure And Revival
Ardbeg wasn't always the Islay distillery with the new Committee Releases every week - nay, there was a time when releases weren't all that often.
Back in the 1980's, amidst a Scotch downturn, Ardbeg's marketing team was going alittle too slow (something like one new release a month, was it?), and the distillery ended up shuttering in 1981. Thankfully by 1989, things were back on track.
Ardbeg's new super premium The Rollercoaster set captures precisely the distillery's highs and lows with a pair of releases from those two landmark years.
The first bottle in the set in an Ardbeg 1981 that was distilled two weeks before the distillery's closure, and is said to be the last cask from the 1981 stock left in Ardbeg's possession. It is a 42 year old expression that is lightly peated (Ardbeg's own heavily peated 110ppm malt blended with lightly peated malt), said to be in the "Kildalton style" (wasn't there an Ardbeg Kildalton in 2014?). It was aged in ex-Bourbon casks, before being transferred to a single Oloroso Sherry cask for "rich, spicy notes". It is bottled at 47.3% ABV.
The second bottle in the set is an Ardbeg 1989 celebrates the distillery's revival and is one of the last few casks left from that year. This expression was distilled just weeks after production had restarted, and is a 33 year old expression matured in ex-Bourbon casks, before later being transferred into a single refill Bourbon cask, enhancing its subtle peated style. This made use of Port Ellen maltings, with peat level lowered to 35ppm.
“Ardbeg The Rollercoaster is a unique opportunity for collectors to experience two very different tastes of Ardbeg’s heritage and acquire a set of bottlings with an incredible story.
“The 1981 expression was made from some of the last malt ever to emerge from our maltings as Ardbeg teetered on the brink of closure. It is a beautiful combination of sweet and spicy Sherried notes and hints of Ardbeg’s savoury side.
“Distilled soon after spirit flowed from the stills again, with a radically different malt, the 1989 is an equally singular Ardbeg. Classic notes of lime and vanilla combine with sea spray and very subtle, smoky tones.
“A snapshot of the contrasting spirits of those days, the time-capsule whiskies of Ardbeg The Rollercoaster will go down in Ardbeg history.”
Dr Bill Lumsden
With only 143 sets to be made available, the set will go at an RRP of €100,000 (US$107,167), available via Moet Hennessy's private client channel.
88 Bamboo Editorial Team