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Ardbeg whiskey is known for its strong peat flavor and is even referred to as the "peaty wild beast" on the Isle of Islay. However, despite its unique taste, Ardbeg has gained many fans around the world, including a group of enthusiasts who have formed the Ardbeg Committee. This whiskey has a lot of depth and complexity that is appreciated by its followers.
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Burning coal is used to dry malt, and because of its high water content, it produces a large amount of aromatic phenols that attach to the malt. The peat value of Ardbeg whiskey is highest among all Islay distilleries when measured in this state, and it is the foundation of the "wild beast" flavor.
In fact, after various processes, the finished peat value of Ardbeg whiskey is reduced to only 1/2 to 1/4 of its original amount, which contributes to its intricate and complex flavor.
Ardbeg uses two different fermentation times, 60 hours and nearly 100 hours, to produce wax and soap flavors that complement the strong peaty and smoky style of Islay.
To reduce the peat phenol value, Ardbeg includes a small purification design on the distillation cleaner, which increases liquid reflux. This technique produces a more abundant fruit aroma and a light body that balances the peat flavor.
Ardbeg's aging warehouse faces the coast, giving the whiskey a hint of salty sea breeze. 98% of the original whiskey is matured in bourbon barrels, with only a small amount aged in sherry barrels. Aging under the sea breeze makes the aroma even more unpredictable.