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Question about Ardbeg 17 age

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Question about Ardbeg 17 age

Postby matthew2512 » Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:14 am

Hi all,
I have tried to find the answer to the following question in the whiskymag forum archive but the search engine ignores the '17' returning 75 pages of any post with the word Ardbeg in it.

My very generous boss has recently sold me one of this bottles of Ardbeg 17 (bottled 2004) for £50. My question is- If this is 17 years old and bottled in 2004 that means that it would have been distilled in the mid 1980s, but wasnt Ardbeg mothballed in 1981 and didnt start production again untill 1989? So what is the actuall age of the Ardbeg 17 L4? And why did they not put actual age on the bottle?

Thanks for you help,
Matthew
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Re: Question about Ardbeg 17 age

Postby lohssanami » Thu Nov 27, 2008 5:39 am

I tend to trust the information that SOI has on his site. His site talks of the distillery being mothballed in 1982. There may have been plenty of stock to support the "17" expression from the first bottling in 1998 to the last in 2004. If there was no distilling taking place after the announcement in 1982 and part-time reopening in 1989, then the "17" could be somewhere in between 21-23 years old for the L4 bottle.

There are several reasons why older whisky might go into a younger stated expression.

1.) Flavor profile - like Balvenie 15
2.) Available stock
3.) Cost of changing to different expressions, such as offering a "17" for a couple of years, then a "19" for a year, then maybe a "22" for a year. Too much hassle and change to justify the expense of making several different instead of just offering a core expression. Besides, they were already doing something similar with the 1975, 1977 and 1978.

I just think Ardbeg wanted to offer a core expression to go along with the vintage offerings that were going out at the time.

Provenance - bottled in 1997, 1998 and 2000
1978 - bottled from 1997-1999
1975 - bottled from 1998-2001
1977 - bottled from (2000 or 2001)-2004

Once the "TEN" (2000), LOTI (2002) and Uigeadail (2003) were released, as well as dwindling stocks from 1981-2, the "17" could be phased out.

This is just my opinion, and there could be a whole other reason or explanation, but I just wanted to add my two pennies.
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Re: Question about Ardbeg 17 age

Postby matthew2512 » Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:15 am

Thanks for your reply Tim, thats a lot of helpful information.
Just curious, How long have you been an Ardbeg fan? you seem to know a heck of a lot about it :)

I must admit i thought there would be a lot more replies to this question based on the number of Ardbeg fans out there.
Anyway, thanks again Tim :thumbsup:
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Re: Question about Ardbeg 17 age

Postby lohssanami » Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:07 am

Hey Matthew...I've been an Ardbeg fan since I got into malts, basically when I joined this site, at the beginning of 2008. I did try Ardbeg 10 last year, but I didn't know what I would be getting into at that point.

I've obtained alot of information about Ardbeg from the following people and places.

Gordon (Spirit of Islay - http://www.spiritofislay.net) is a veritable treasure trove of information about Ardbeg not only on bottlings, but more importantly on tasting notes and opinions of the nectar itself. His site is a great read and a cool place to hang out and chat on Wednesday (UK time) or Thursday (US time) in the chatroom. I wouldn't have had much information about all the Ardbeg Committee bottlings without Gordon's help.

Geert (peatjunkie - http://www.ardbeg.eu) has an incredible collection of Ardbeg's, and he helped me tremendously with many different varieties and bottling years of the different expressions. If you're ever in Belgium and want to taste some whisky, go to his hotel.

Whiskymag - I wouldn't have learned anything if this forum hadn't been so helpful and friendly when I joined. Many members have helped with their knowledge, insight and current stock of Ardbeg's.

Whiskyauction dot com is a great place to find different varieties of bottles that are available, and their pictures are very detailed. I've never bought anything from that site, but I've heard good things.

I'm pretty sure most of the facts I posted previously are accurate, but the reasons why a 17 year old might have older whisky might be better explained by the more experienced folks here. I'd actually love to hear some other opinions on the reasons.
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Re: Question about Ardbeg 17 age

Postby lohssanami » Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:31 pm

Edited dates from an earlier post on the following vintage.

1977 - bottled from 2001-2004
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Re: Question about Ardbeg 17 age

Postby matthew2512 » Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:02 am

I have done a little research and found this from a book called Appreciating Whisky by Phillip Hills, 2000, pg 168.

"He (Bill Lumsden) explains that there are supply problems. No production took place at Ardbeg from 1981 to 1989. It reopened only in 1997. There are stocks sufficient to produce a bottling which is designated as 17 year old, though in fact it is using stock considerably older than that, mostly laid down between 1975 and 1977."
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