Ardbeg to release Y2K 23 year old whisky - the first in a limited edition series

A new, rare, bottling of Ardbeg has been announced.

Published 8th May 2024
Updated 8 th May 2024

Ardbeg has released its first vintage of the millennium – the ultra-rare Ardbeg Vintage Y2K whisky.

Intensely sweet and classically peaty, this 23-year-old whisky is the first edition in a highly-limited series created during a milestone year at Ardbeg. 

While the year 2000 will be remembered by many for bootcut jeans, flip phones and the elusive millennium bug, it went down in Ardbeg history for very different reasons.

Following decades of neglect, the distillery had been saved from extinction by The Glenmorangie Company in 1997 and  restored.

As the clock ticked over from 1999 to 2000, Ardbeg was returning to full production. And while the rest of the world partied, with many distilleries shut down in fear of computerised chaos, its dedicated stillmen stayed up all night to keep the spirit flowing.  

Crafted with some of the very first spirit of the millennium, the inaugural edition in the Ardbeg Vintage Y2K series is unlike anything that came before.

It was distilled in the historic still which served Ardbeg for 51 years, before being retired in 2001.

With an increased rigour applied to cask selection under the new ownership, the whisky was laid down in some of the finest bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks around.

Ardbeg Y2K

The result is a single malt packed with bright zesty notes and intensely sweet, sooty flavours – a smoky anomaly never to be repeated.

Aromas of lemon balsam reminisce with linseed oil and heather honey, while soot and peppermint stir up memories of ground coffee and aniseed on the palate.

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As that whisky’s spirit was rolled into the warehouse, there was another significant development at Ardbeg. 

In February 2000, a few dedicated fans hatched a plan to ensure the distillery’s doors never closed again, and the Ardbeg Committee was born.

More than two decades later that loyal fanbase is an Ardbeggian institution, spanning more than 130 countries and 180,000 strong.

Dr Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg Master Distiller, said: “Ardbeg Vintage Y2K is a phenomenal souvenir of a pivotal year at Ardbeg.

"Crafted at the dawn of a new era in our historic still, this ultra-rare whisky has been stowed carefully at the Distillery ever since. Herbal, citrusy and sweet on the nose, before soot, peppermint and coffee explode on the palate, this retro collectors’ classic is pure Ardbeg nostalgia.”

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Committee Chair and Distillery Visitor Centre Manager Jackie Thomson added: “The turn of the millennium was a milestone for Ardbeg in so many ways – not least the formation of our Committee, the lifeblood of Ardbeg.

"With Y2K fashion and culture now back with a vengeance, we’re inviting Ardbeggians to turn back time to a remarkable year and enjoy the spirit of Ardbeg Vintage Y2K.”

Ardbeg Y2K will be available to purchase from the distillery visitor centre on Islay later this month, priced at £670, and more widely in the UK and on Ardbeg.com in the UK from July.

Consumers can register their interest on the Ardbeg website

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Ardbeg, Isle of Islay, UK
Ardbeg, Isle of Islay, UK, PA42 7EA
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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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