In November 2007, Ardbeg Distillery’s boiler broke, threatening six washbacks of spirit. With the boiler not budging, the washbacks were opened to the Islay air, beginning a three-week fermentation, the distillery’s longest-ever.
Dr Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s director of distilling and whisky creation, said, “I’ve always wanted to experiment with longer fermentations, so I think an unintentional boiler breakdown was the best thing that could have happened! For context, most Ardbeg is only fermented for 72 hours, making three weeks uncharted territory for us.
“The outcome is a dram that tastes like pure science fiction. Peat and smoke meld beautifully with fresh, floral flavours, while sharp, more malty notes give Ardbeg Fermutation a uniquely zingy profile.”
Colin Gordon, Ardbeg’s distillery manager, added, “Blind luck is sometimes just part of the way we do things here at Ardbeg. But the creation of Fermutation wasn’t simply good fortune. Quick thinking, ingenuity and a little assistance from tiny beings in the atmosphere helped us get here…”