Happy accident leads to a new dram from Ardbeg

Ardbeg are getting ready to launch their new limited edition Ardbeg Fermutation next month.

The result of a happy accident, this 13 year old dram is the delicious consequence of an unplanned experiment that resulted in the longest fermentation in Ardbeg’s history.

In November 2007, The Ardbeg Distillery was about to face one of its greatest challenges. A broken boiler threatened the very existence of six washbacks full of precious liquid. The team tried everything they could to get the boiler going, but to no avail.

Ever the optimist, Dr Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s director of distilling and whisky creation, saw this conundrum as an opportunity to experiment.

He quickly instructed the Distillery folk to throw open the washback lids and expose the contents to the Islay air. Thus began an epic three week-long fermentation – the longest in Ardbeg’s history – which eventually gave rise to a wild, zingy and vibrant spirit.

Dr Bill said: ‘I’ve always wanted to experiment with longer fermentations, so I think an unintentional boiler breakdown was the best thing that could have happened! 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 flavours, while sharp, more malty notes give Ardbeg Fermutation a uniquely zingy profile.’

Colin Gordon, Ardbeg’s distillery manager, said: ‘Blind luck is sometimes just part of the way we do things here 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.’

As a Committee-only bottling, Ardbeg Fermutation is only available to members of The Ardbeg Committee. Those interested can join The Committee by signing up at www.ardbeg.com/committee. Membership is free and all Ardbeg fans are welcome.