Ardbeg has been hailed as Distillery of the Year for the second year running, while Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1991 was named Whisky of the Year at the International Whisky Competition (IWC).
Both distilleries are owned by The Glenmorangie Company, with Dr Bill Lumsden overseeing the creation of Glenmorangie’s Highland single malt as well as Ardbeg. Dr Lumsden also became the IWC’s Master Distiller of the Year for an unprecedented third time.
Ardbeg, famous for its ultimate smoky taste, was lauded by judges at the IWC for its “exceptional craftsmanship, passion and mastery”, with Ardbeg An Oa singled out for three category wins.
Ardbeg has won a raft of prized awards at the IWC in recent years. In 2017, Ardbeg Kelpie Committee Release was honoured as Whisky of the Year and in 2018, Ardbeg was named Distillery of the Year. This year it retains that prestigious title, with all of its whiskies scoring more than 90 points out of 100. At the forefront was Ardbeg An Oa, the Distillery’s newest permanent expression. Earning Ardbeg’s highest score of 95.3, it was awarded Best Single Malt Scotch (No Age Statement), Best Islay Single Malt and Best Peated Whisky.
The IWC said: “For a second year in a row, Ardbeg submitted their entire range and every one of their five whisky expressions scored over 90 points, showing exceptional craftsmanship, passion and mastery in the art of assembling phenomenal whisky.” Sylvain Allard, IWC managing partner, added: “Ardbeg has been one of the few innovative distilleries releasing exciting new whisky expressions for their fans, while their base range keeps on delivering in terms of standard and quality.”
Beyond the top awards, Ardbeg won a total of five categories at the competition, with success for Ardbeg Ten Years Old and Ardbeg Corryvreckan, as well as Ardbeg An Oa. Glenmorangie won five more, with Glenmorangie Lasanta, Glenmorangie 19 Years Old and Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1991. Scoring 97 points, the vintage was proclaimed by the IWC’s head judge as “quite possibly one of the top ten whiskies I’ve sampled in my life”.
Dr Lumsden, Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks for both Distilleries, said: “Ardbeg fully deserves to be celebrated as Distillery of the Year. With each whisky scoring over 90 points, led by the smoky, sweet and singularly rounded Ardbeg An Oa, these results reflect the dedication at Ardbeg’s heart. And I’m thrilled to see Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1991 named Whisky of the Year. Its plummy depths make it a truly exceptional whisky.”