Limited edition Ardbeg release commemorates retirement of distillery manager

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SCOTCH whisky brand Ardbeg have announced the limited edition bottling in commemoration  of their distillery manager Mickey Heads retirement.

Mr Heads retired in late 2020 after 13 years at the head of the distillery where he won Distillery Manager of the year in 2014 amongst other accolades.

The distillery have announced the launch of “Arrrrrrrdbeg!” in honour of Mr Heads and will be available to the Ardbeg Committee from February 1st.

Ardbeg Arrrrrdbeg
(Image provided) Ardbeg’s new Arrrrrdbeg

Mr Heads, refered to by the company as “the captain” oversaw the distillation of dozens of f Ardbeg expressions.

Mr heads also  took home the title of IWC ‘Distillery of the Year’ three times in a row, and was named Distillery Manager of the Year 2014.

Exclusively available to the Ardbeg Committee from (1 February 2021), Arrrrrrrdbeg! is the Distillery’s first whisky wholly matured in ex-rye casks.

The company say it has: “A spicy mouthfeel igniting a blunderbuss of fruity flavours, while the long finish lingers with gentle smoke listing on the palate.”

Ardbeg Arrrrrdbeg - Food and Drink News Scotland
The distillery say “A spicy mouthfeel hoists up and ignites a blunderbuss of fruity flavours, such as melon and kiwi. An armada of aniseed appears, tailed by notes of smoked toffee and a distant hint of sourdough biscuits.”

Mickey Heads, Distillery Manager, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to spend the last 13 years heading the crew at the greatest Distillery on earth.

“I had the best team of people anyone could wish for and I’m proud that we’ve been responsible for producing so many wonderful Ardbegs along the way.

“As for this bottling, well I’m honoured that a place that has already given me so much would celebrate my retirement in such a thoughtful way.

“And to have my image on a bottle, that’s a dream come true!

“Who knows what retirement holds for me, but I know I’ll be spending a lot of time out fishing.

“And, as ongoing Chairman of the Ardbeg Committee, I’m sure I’ll be dropping by the Distillery often.”

The bottle’s striking illustrated label depicts Mickey as a “salty seadog” and is the creation of Butcher Billy, a renowned Brazilian artist and graphic designer.

Dr Bill Lumsden, Director of Whisky Creation at Ardbeg, said: “Working with Mickey has been an absolute joy.

“He’s somebody with a genuine passion for Ardbeg and we hope that this bottling will take pride of place in his collection.

“He’s presided over many momentous Ardbegs over the years, but this ‘end of an era’ edition is a special one.”

As part of the Arrrrrrrdbeg! launch, Mickey has recorded a farewell tasting film and Q&A, which fans can watch from the comfort of their own homes.

While he is stepping down as Distillery Manager, Mickey will not be disappearing from the world of Ardbeg altogether.

Mr Heads will be continuing in his role as Chairman of the Ardbeg Committee.