Ardbeg’s New Committee Scotch Expression Result Of ‘Happy Accident’

| January 24, 2022

The newest expression from Ardbeg is the result of an unplanned experiment that led to the longest fermentation in Ardbeg’s history.

In November of 2007, The Ardbeg Distillery found that a broken boiler threatened six washbacks full of whisky. The team at Ardbeg tried to revive the boiler, but it was dead.

Dr Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s director of distilling and whisky creation, said he saw that situation as an opportunity to experiment.

Ardbeg Fermutation

Ardbeg Fermutation (image via Ardbeg)

He instructed the distillery crew to throw open the washback lids and expose the contents to the Islay air. And that began a three week-long fermentation, the longest in Ardbeg’s history, which eventually gave rise to a wild and zingy spirit, the distiller explained.

“I’ve always wanted to experiment with longer fermentations, so I think an unintentional boiler breakdown was the best thing that could have happened,” Lumsden said in a prepared statement.. “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 flavors, while sharp, more malty notes give Ardbeg Fermutation a uniquely zingy profile.”

Colin Gordon, Ardbeg’s distillery manager, said that sometimes, blind luck is just a part of the way they do things 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. 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.”

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As a Committee-only bottling, Ardbeg Fermutation is only available to members of The Ardbeg Committee at this time for a suggested price of $199.99. Those interested can join The Committee by signing up at www.ardbeg.com/committee.

Formed in 2000, the Ardbeg Committee is made up of thousands of Ardbeg followers worldwide that seek to make sure “the doors of Ardbeg never close again.” Today there are more than 130,000 members of the Ardbeg Committee in more than 130 countries.

Committee Members are regularly consulted on new bottlings and expressions and are offered exclusive Committee bottlings. Members also receive invitations to special gatherings, tastings and events. The Committee is free to join.

Ardbeg Femutation official tasting notes:

  • Age: 13 Years Old
  • ABV: 49.4%
  • Maturation: Ex-bourbon casks, both 1st and refill
  • Color: Pale Straw
  • Nose: Fresh, floral, herbal and tart. Hints of mixed herbs and cedar wood. Zesty 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 savory, like yeast extract or bread dough.
  • Taste: A lively, vibrant, sharp, ‘zingy’ texture, leading into very firm, distinctive flavors – 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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Gary Carter

Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether...