You wouldn’t say it looking at them now, but Ardbeg fell upon hard times during the 20th century. Hiram Walker closed the distillery in March 1981 and it subsequently stayed silent for several years. Production resumed on a limited basis in 1989, but it wasn’t until Glenmorangie took over in 1997 that the distillery fully reopened. The Ardbeg Committee was founded in 2000 to support the future of Ardbeg, and each year the distillery releases an exclusive expression for the fan club. Ardbeg Blaaack Committee Edition – in a fancy sleeve, or perhaps a woolly sock, if you find two of these limited editions – was released in 2020 to celebrate the Committee’s 20th anniversary. It honours Ardbeg’s status as the black sheep of Islay, with its turbulent history and unorthodox attitude. The whisky matured in the finest Pinot Noir wine casks from New Zealand, and is bottled at 50.7%. Ardbeg Blaaack Committee Edition knits together velvety summer fruit pudding and bitter cherry, with a deeper edge of soot and Ardbeg’s hallmark smoke.