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Ardbeg to release limited edition Ardbeg Fermutation

A tale of Ardbeg’s ingenuity, the release of Ardbeg Fermutation brings about a dram with an unbelievable story.

Published: January 18, 2022
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From February 2022, Ardbeg will launch their new Committee-only limited edition Ardbeg Fermutation.

The result of a happy accident, this 13 year old dram is the delicious consequence of an unplanned experiment that resulted in the longest fermentation in Ardbeg’s history.

In November 2007, The Ardbeg Distillery was about to face one of its greatest challenges.

A broken boiler threatened the very existence of six washbacks full of precious liquid. The team tried everything they could to get the boiler going, but to no avail.

Ever the optimist, Dr Bill (Ardbeg’s Director of Distilling and Whisky Creation) saw this conundrum as an opportunity to experiment.

He quickly instructed the Distillery team to throw open the washback lids and expose the contents to the Islay air.

Thus began an epic three week-long fermentation – the longest in Ardbeg’s history – which eventually gave rise to a wild, zingy and vibrant spirit.

Dr Bill Lumsden, said: “I’ve always wanted to experiment with longer fermentations, so I think an unintentional boiler breakdown was the best thing that could have happened.

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"For context, most Ardbeg is only fermented for 72 hours, making three weeks unchartered territory for us.

"The outcome is a dram that tastes like pure science fiction. Peat and smoke meld beautifully with fresh, floral flavours, while sharp, more malty notes give Ardbeg Fermutation a uniquely zingy profile.”

Colin Gordon, Ardbeg’s Distillery Manager, said: “Blind luck is sometimes just part of the way we do things here at Ardbeg.

"But the creation of Fermutation wasn’t simply good fortune. Quick thinking, ingenuity and a little assistance from tiny beings in the atmosphere helped us get here.

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"At 13 years old, this is of course an aged Ardbeg – something I’m sure our fans will be delighted to get their hands on.”

As a Committee-only bottling, Ardbeg Fermutation is only available to members of The Ardbeg Committee.

You can join The Committee by signing up online. Membership is free and all Ardbeg fans are welcome.

Tasting notes

Age: 13 Years Old

Highlights of the 2022 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival

ABV: 49.4%

Maturation: Ex-bourbon casks, both 1st and refill

Colour: Pale Straw

Nose: Fresh, floral, herbal and tart. Hints of mixed herbs and cedar wood. Very zesty, vibrant, hints of smoked orange and grapefruit, lots of menthol and peppermint. With water, powerful bursts of diesel oil, tar, fresh paint and aniseed. As this dies down, a memory of freshly cut hay, and the tiniest hint of something savoury, like yeast extract or bread dough.

Taste: A lively, vibrant, sharp, ‘zingy’ texture, leading into very firm, distinctive flavours – malty/biscuit tones, powerful aniseed, cardamom, antiseptic lozenge, sweet mint toffee and cigar ash.

Finish: Finally, a lingering, salty, firm aftertaste of mint, tar, oak tannin & leather.

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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