Ardnahoe distillery owner Hunter Laing & Co unveils new single malt for Islay festival

Ardnahoe Distillery owner and independent bottler Hunter Laing & Co. has unveiled a brand new single malt bottled specially for the Islay Festival this month. 

Published 23rd May 2019
Updated 20 th Sep 2023

Scarabus Specially Selected, a 46% abv peated expression priced at £38 (70cl), will be available at Feis Ile 2019, the festival of music and whisky held at the end of May on the Hebridean island.

​The first drams of Scarabus will be poured at a number of tours and tastings throughout the festival at Hunter Laing & Co.’s newly opened distillery on the island, Ardnahoe.

It will also be available exclusively for purchase there until next month.


Picture: Hunter Laing

Scarabus, meaning ‘rocky place’ in Nordic, is named after a mystical area of Islay and is described as a whisky for those with a curious mind and an eye for detail.

The Scarabus tasting notes read: “Aromas of Islay peat smoke and sea salt, followed by warming leather notes, stewed rhubarb and a wonderful vanilla sweetness on the palate, leading to a rich lingering finish.”

The packaging and labelling are designed to invoke "a sense of mystery" with the symbols found on the bottle being intentionally ambiguous, and inspired by the work of Islay born John Francis Campbell, who famously created the sunshine recorder, a device that tallies the hours of sunshine in a day, as well as creating a vast collection of Celtic folklore tales.

Commenting on the release of the new expression, Stewart Laing, managing director, said: “We’re extremely proud of the Scarabus whisky and the Feis Ile Festival is the perfect place to release the first bottling. We aimed to produce an expression that showcases a traditional Islay whisky style, and the unmistakable Islay smoke matches wonderfully with the rich, sweeter notes that linger on the finish.”

Andrew Laing, export director added: “Our new brand is mysterious, which we know will create intrigue with the ever-loyal following of Islay whisky fans. Our family has such a strong connection with the island and we can’t wait for people to discover Scarabus at Feis Ile.”

“Our new release is bottled at 46% and will be available in 70cl, 75cl & 1L in the UK and international markets as well as in selected travel retail and duty free stores. We are very proud of the first release from the Scarabus range and are confident we will receive a positive reaction at the festival."

• READ MORE: In pictures: Islay’s newest whisky distillery Ardnahoe officially opens

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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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