Comics and drams: Ardbeg launches limited edition Heavy Vapours whisky, with new graphic novel

A colourful frame from the Ardbeg graphic novel Heavy Vapours

Islay distillery Ardbeg has announced a limited edition single malt whisky, with accompanying graphic novel, to celebrate its titular Ardbeg Day on June 3.

The new release, Ardbeg Heavy Vapours, is the first time ever that Ardbeg has distilled its whisky without a purifier, allowing the heaviest vapours to rise up the still during the distillation process. It says this results in a unique balance between extreme peat and floral fruitiness.

To accompany the release, there’s a graphic novel by artist and illustrator Dilraj Mann. This latest edition to Ardbeg’s graphic novel universe, Planet Ardbeg, follows Agent 46, an interplanetary detective charged with locating the errant purifier, in order to restore Ardbeg’s signature balance.

This experimental Islay single malt scotch whisky, created by resident Director of Whisky Dr Bill Lumsden, is matured in classic Ardbeg casks, and the resulting flavour profile, is said to be defined by a distinctive earthiness, dark chocolate, aniseed and cinnamon. It’s a captivating dram, says Lumsden.

Bottled at 46% ABV, Heavy Vapours will be available to purchase from various whisky specialists, including The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt, for £120 from May 23. 

The flavour profile is said to be defined by a distinctive earthiness, dark chocolate, aniseed and cinnamon,,.

The new release is the centrepiece of this year’s Ardbeg Day on June 3, a celebration of all things Ardbeg held annually on the last Saturday of Islay’s Festival of Music and Malt, Fèis Ìle. 

This year, festivities will include a noir detective themed celebration in London. Guests will be tasked with finding the lost purifier, all while enjoying the smoky, earthy flavours of Heavy Vapours.

The original Planet Ardbeg is a 40-page sci-fi anthology, conceived by New York cartoonist Ronald Wimberly in collaboration with fellow artists Emma Ríos and Sanford Greene. The publication relates the origin stories of three Ardbeg expressions: Ardbeg Ten Years Old, Ardbeg An Oa, and Ardbeg Wee Beastie.

For members of the Ardbeg committee, a Heavy Vapour Committee Exclusive is available to purchase online. This exclusive edition is bottled non-chill-filtered at 50.2% ABV, again priced at £120.

About Steve May

Creator of Home Cinema Choice magazine, and editor of The Luxe Review, Steve muses and reviews for Trusted Reviews, T3, Yahoo UK, Home Cinema Choice, Games Radar, Ideal Home, Louder Sounds, Channel News and Boat International. He’s also the editor of professional home cinema website Inside CI. He's on Twitter and Instagram as @SteveMay_UK

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