Ardbeg A Peaty Provenance

Gavin D Smith & Graeme Wallace

Book Review by Franz Scheurer


Ardbeg - A Peaty Provenance is a book aimed at the Ardbeg fanatic. It no doubt is of interest to any serious Scotch whisky drinker but it will quicken the pulse of any real fan. It's beautifully presented in that large, coffee table format, it's perfect bound and full of both historic and current photographs.


The authors trace the history and Graeme Wallace is responsible for a lot of the stunning photography. The book is divided into the following chapters:


Challenging Beginnings

Wars and Prohibition

The Good Years

A Period of Experimentation and Closure

The Glenmorangie Years

The Whisky Makers

Making the Spirit

The Brand

The Experience

Sampling the Spirit


Collecting Ardbeg


John MacDougall of Ardbeg decided in 1815 to become a legitimate, commercial distiller and the authors unearthed an incredible array of facts, starting from the time when most whisky was sold and consumed straight from the still (and did not enjoy the luxury of maturation in wooden casks), to today when Ardbeg isn't just a boutique brand anymore, but an established luxury brand with an incredible pool of talent at their every- day disposal. Finding passionate people pouring their heart and soul into the brand, from the people on the production floor to the visitor centre and cafˇ, marketing, public relation and representation is amazing to witness and probably unlike any other whisky icon in the world. 


Ardbeg has always been exclusive, due to the fact that is was scarce and once found, so overwhelmingly good that it fostered cult status. This has not changed all that much, although some expressions are now relatively easily available. 


I do think that Hamish Torrie's creation of the Committee was a stroke of genius and probably the most effective marketing idea in the history of Ardbeg. Combine this with the genius of Dr. Bill Lumsden and Mickey Heads, supported by a hard-working, involved and dedicated staff (Jackie, you're tops!) and you end up with the most incredible whisky in the world. (You can tell I am an Ardbeg fan!)


I won't say much more about this book, because you need to own it; paw over it; savour every word; look at every picture and have a few drams while you're doing this. Ardbeg, of course!


Published by GW Publishing

PO Box 6091

Thatcham Berks

RG19 8XZ

Tel.: +44 (0)1635 268080

Have a look at their Web Site


ISBN 978 0 9554145 6 5


You can order this via the Internet or get in touch with Tim or Amanda at Books for Cooks, 233 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065 on 03 8415 1415 and they'll be happy to help, where ever you are in Australia.

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