Spirit Of The Week: Ardcore Single Malt Scotch Whisky

The anti-establishment attitude of classic British punk inspired this “Ardcore” single-malt.


Credit scores of steel mills and coal mines shuttering across the country, Margaret Thatcher’s stiff-lipped austerity measures, a worldwide economic downturn and just your general British malaise/distrust/cynicism, but few things are more complimented in recent history than the original ‘70s punk movement and the British Isles. 

While seminal punk bands like The Buzzcocks, Damned and Sex Pistols were tearing up clubs across Britain, even remote isles like Islay were affected. Legend has it the rebellious, leather-clad denizens of Port Ellen, Islay’s main harbor, were so numerous the town took on the moniker “Punk Ellen.”


It is from this fertile soil of anti-establishment that premier Islay distillery Ardbeg draws inspiration for their latest expression, Ardcore. The limited time offering was crafted to honor this year’s Ardbeg Day, an annual festivity that takes place on the last Saturday of every Fèis Ìle — Islay’s always anticipated annual Festival of Music + Malt. 

Every year the Islay distillery crafts a unique whiskey, never to be seen again, to celebrate all things Ardbeg with the world. For Ardcore the Ardbeg brain trust (credit Head of Distilling and Whisky Creation Dr. Bill Lumsden and its Distillery Manager Colin Gordon) based its spirit on a roasted black malt – not only an unconventional malt for whisky, but also a first for Ardbeg. 


“Ardcore is a dram that wears its heart on its sleeve – its black heart!” explains Dr. Bill of our spiky Spirit Of the Week. “Created with roasted black malt, burnt to hair-raising levels, this spirit is all about substance. Notes of charcoal and sweet smoke make for an in-your-face nose, while potent notes of aniseed and dark chocolate stamp this bottle out as one fit only for the most Ardcore of fans.”

Since only a rare lucky few Ardbeg fans will actually be on the isle during Fèis Ìle, Ardbeg plans to broadcast activities online all day June 4th. “This year will be my first physical Ardbeg Day. We know not everybody can make it to Islay,” sympathizes Gordon. “Whether at the distillery or at home, we hope lots of you rock up, punked out and ready to party come 4th June!” $800

Follow our Contributing Spirits Editor on Instagram at @nickstecher and @boozeoftheday.