Famed whisky critic Jim Murray once said that “Ardbeg is supernova stuff, and I have long regarded [it] as the finest distillery in the world”. Coming from a man that tries a legion of whiskies every year, that is massive cred to Ardbeg’s name. Resurrected from ruins in 1997, the Islay-based distillery has gained a large cult following across the globe for being the peatiest whiskies to come from a region defined by smoky spirits.
Dubbed as the Ardbeg Committee by the whisky house, its followers number 120,000 at the last count, and continue to grow with every passing year. In service of this army of enthusiasts, the distillery has established Ardbeg Embassies around the world, as “lighthouses” for fans to come together and enjoy drams of its offerings. An Ardbeg Embassy is slated to open at The Grande Whisky Collection in Ion Orchard, a pioneering investment to create an Ardbeggian pantheon for Southeast Asian devotees.
The Embassy is a vault for all things Ardbeg. Step in and a banner tells you “you are now entering Islay time”, and if you love the distillery and all it produces, time stands still as you gape at the extensive collection the local Embassy has acquired.
Shelves with locked glass doors stretch across the entire room, each stocked with rare Ardbeg whiskies that aren’t readily available, and every bottle comes with a story.
The Ardbeg Galileo is one. The space-themed release was made in 2012 to celebrate the house’s offbeat experiment, where it sent new-make spirit and oak chips to the International Space Station in 2011 to see how whisky would age in space.
The Ardbog, cheekily named after Islay’s peat bogs, also has a place in the Embassy, which is fitting since it was initially released as an exclusive for Committee members.
There’s plenty to gawk at, but the Embassy offers more than just opportunities for spectatorship. Members will also get invitations to masterclasses with global brand ambassadors and distillers during their visits, and access to purchase limited edition Ardbegs on top of that.
The Ardbeg Embassy will be open in mid-June.