It was in 1815 that John McDougall took out a licence, establishing Ardbeg as a legitimate firm. Since then it has been the most peated (i.e. smokiest) malt in the business. As everyone knows one of the main ingredients in whisky is the water used. The water used in Ardbeg comes from Loch Uigeadail which is situated approximately 3 miles behind the distillery and gets mixed straight into the malt to create the mash. Water is added a total of 3 times to the mix all at different temperatures to create the perfect mash. Then it is time for the fermentation process. Ardbeg's fermentation process is longer than any other whisky taking a minimum of 55 hours. Once the mix is fermented it comes out at 7.5% ABV and then the distillation process takes place. The distillation process happens twice with the first happening in the wash still and the second distillation is done in the spirit still. In this distillation the spirit rises from 24% to 76% ABV increasing the quality of the spirit. The second distillation process takes a long time and by the time the process is over the spirit is at its perfect ABV.
In the maturation process only 1<sup>st</sup> and 2<sup>nd</sup> fill casks are used. The 1<sup>st</sup> filled casks come from ex-bourbon wood from America while the others come from Speyside Cooperage and Craigellachie. They also use Sherry butts and some new French oak barrels, each barrel bringing its own unique flavours and aromas to compliment the whiskey.