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Anarchy in the Hebrides with Ardbeg Distillery

British whisky has always lagged behind its American cousin in the music stakes, with Bourbon latching itself to the rock & roll world while Scotch enjoyed its reputation as a refined tipple for the chattering classes. But Scottish distillery Ardbeg is about to change all of that - and there’s still time for you to head north (ALL the way north) to witness the punk rock revolution in full swing.

On June 4, the distillery hosts Ardbeg Day, an annual celebration that closes out Islay’s Festival of Music and Malt (Fèis Ìle). And this year, they’re calling on the world’s mosh-pit maestros and punk aficionados to rock up for what they’re calling the “Loudest event in the whisky calendar.”

The tiny island in the Inner Hebrides is - alongside the neighbouring Jura - somewhat of a Mecca for whisky lovers, with NINE distilleries crammed into its 40km length and another two on the way. Ardbeg takes its spot on the south coast along with fellow heavyweights Lagavulin and Laphroaig, and the three are known collectively as the Kildalton Distilleries.

The Islay Festival allows distilleries their own, distinct days to showcase their wares while crowds enjoy live music and entertainment, but after two years of virtual parties (curse you, Covid!), Ardbeg will close out this year’s comeback event with a dram of anarchy. Yep, they’re launching a limited edition, punk rock whisky.

Ardcore is a black malt - the first of its kind from Ardbeg - that has been incinerated to “hair raising levels” and is described by Dr Bill Lumsden (Director of Whisky Creation), as “a dram that wears its heart on its sleeve. It tastes like biting on a spiky ball!”

If you like the sound of biting on spiky balls - and we’re not here to judge you for that - then bagging yourself a ticket to Ardbeg Day should be top of your to-do list. Expect amps turned up to 11, plenty of tartan (of the Scottish AND punk-rock variety), and a serious amount of whisky guzzling.

But if you can’t make it to the beautiful surroundings of Islay this summer, there’s still hope. Limited numbers of the bottles will be available in shops at £105 - check with your local whisky specialist and put your request in sharpish. And the events will be live-streamed, so you can live out your punk dreams from the comfort of your own home.

Photo credit: Steve Barker/Unsplash

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