1st June, 2013, 10am, Monument, The City of London, over 600 discerning whisky drinkers turned out to march past London’s most Iconic sites. Led by the Ardbeg chopper bike and tractor, the crowds hollered the Ardbeg chant "Dig a hole and release the peat, release the peat, release the peat", escorted by a flock of flying sheep and Shortie the Ardbeg Jack Russell. The march proceeded across London Bridge and ended in an Ardbeggian celebration on Potter's Field Park overlooked by the Mayor’s Office and Tower Bridge.
The celebrations continued into the day with a peat pit where eager Ardbeg fans could don boiler suits and dig for coins that converted to prizes, pet real sheep, listen to live bands (as voted for by Ardbeg Facebook followers) and challenge each other to welly tossing, tug-o-war or a sack race! And of course, Ardbog day wouldn't be complete without a dram of Ardbeg or the new limited edition Ardbog at the Ardbeg bar. Visitors could also choose from a cocktail list (both alcoholic and non alcoholic) which featured both long drinks such as Smoke-jito - a Ardbeg whisky take on the classic Mojito and lavender Fling made with Ardbeg Whisky, Apple juice, lemon and Lavender syrup, or a classic Ardbog dram.
Each year Ardbeg throws an open invitation to all fans and island visitors to visit the distillery on ‘Ardbeg Day’, traditionally the last day of the Islay Festival and this year falling on 1st June. However for 2013 the distillery has decided to rename the annual party ‘Ardbog Day’, a nod to the Limited Edition which was made globally available on the 1st June.
The Ardbeg Distillery also organises ‘Ardbeg Day’ parties around the world for those who cannot make the annual pilgrimage to Islay and their favourite distillery, and in 2013 it was no different, with gatherings taking place from San Francisco to Sydney to the centre of London.
Ardbog, the latest limited edition, brings attention to the famed peat bogs of Ardbeg’s island home and to celebrate their vital part in the whisk- making process. In the production of malt whisky, peat (de-composed vegetable matter) is the fuel that has long been used on Islay to dry the barley during malting, thus giving a distinctive smoky aroma to the whisky; and with a phenol level of the peat measured at an average 55 -60 parts per million, Ardbeg is by far and away the peatiest malt whisky in Scotland. It manages to balance this smoky intensity with an intriguing sweetness derived from its distillation that makes for a malt of famed complexity.
The Islay Festival of Malt and Music (the Feis Ile) that runs from the 26th May – 1st June 2013 has become a key date in the calendar of malt whisky aficionados around the world and every year thousands of them make the trip to the Island of Islay.
In recent years Ardbeg has spread the word about this annual celebration through its worldwide fan club, the Ardbeg Committee, which today numbers over 85,000 members in 130 countries and 24,000 in the UK alone.