By James Atkinson

The upcoming celebrations of the first ever global 'Ardbeg Day' come at a time when there is unprecedented interest in the single malt category in Australia, according to the whisky's new brand manager, Damon Ross-Walker.

Ardbeg Day will be celebrated on June 2, with Olympic-themed parties happening across the globe inspired by the London 2012 games that will follow in July.

Ross-Walker, who recently joined Moet Hennessy Australia as brand manager of Ardbeg, Hennessy and Glenmorangie, told TheShout that Australian consumer appetites for single malt Scotch whisky have never been stronger.

"The single malt category is definitely a growth category, we've seen that for a couple of years," he said.

He added that Australians are increasingly attracted to the "smoky, peaty, big-tasting" whiskies that are unique to the Islay region.

"And Ardbeg is the peatiest, smokiest of the Islay malts," he said.

"It's got the highest parts per million of peat. It's about 56 parts per million of peat, I think Laphroaig is about 35 parts per million."

"Conversely it's also a very delicate, floral and fruity spirit."

Ross-Walker said that in Islay, so-called Islay-limpic events will include sheep tossing, distillery discus, terrier racing, and bog snorkelling.

"We'll be trying to replicate some of that here with a particularly Australian flavour and 'Ardbeggian' twist," he said.

Comedian Dave Thornton will host the Australian event on June 2 at North Sydney Olympic Swimming Pool and Aqua Dining, for all Ardbeg Committee members and invited guests.

To mark the occasion, a limited edition 'Ardbeg Day' bottling (pictured above right) of the malt went on sale at selected stores from May 1. With just over 12,000 bottles produced, 'Ardbeg Day' is a marriage of two different styles of Ardbeg, which have been re-racked into Sherry casks for 6 months.

"Bottled at 56.7 per cent ABV this is a hallmark example of the peaty, smoky complexity that puts Ardbeg in the top flight of single malt whiskies," the distiller said.

The Shout Team

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  1. Can anyone tell me which stores the Ardbeg went on sale at?
    Locations too if possible.

  2. What do Sydney Harbour, the Australian Synchronised Swimming Team, a dog-paddle race and a single malt whisky have in common? If you were there you would immediately recognise the answer as being Ardbeg Day, 2nd June 2012, Sydney, Australia. Only in Australia would the pipers wear Ardbeg budgie smugglers and the warm-up event the Aussie Sync-swimming team. Then to the roar of the crowd, standing on the balcony sipping the finest Single malt in the world, the teams competing in the Islay-limpics took to the water for the dog-paddle relay. With the ice broken and the splashing settled the team from the World of Whisky, Sydney Embassy, pulled themselves from the pool victorious where in 1960 a young Aussie lass named Dawn Fraser set a world record for the 100m freestyle.

    But all frivolity must stand aside for more serious pursuits. With the skittles and corn-hole toss put away it fell to Damon to introduce the raison d’etre for this gathering of Ardbeg Committee Members and Single Malt lovers – the tasting of the special release Ardbeg Day Single Malt. Will it be worth the wait or will it be like a first kiss – all expectation but quickly passed? For me the Ardbeg Day has the first brief glimpse of a Uigeadail but quickly its oloroso roots take hold as it passes over the middle palate and the smooth power fills the mouth. There is a cultured balance between the peat and smoke that is to be expected but still appreciated. Vanilla cream with ginger overtones continues to fill out the mouth feel. The finish is not sharp but a gentle linger of smoke and coffee. Thanks Ardbeg for another small pleasure.

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