Ardbeg is ramping up their efforts to market to whisky lovers in Japan, for the first time this year, releasing a “Committee Release” bottle to local members, and the special edition Ardcore throughout Japan retailers. They’ve also ramped up their Ardbeg Day event this year to a larger space in Harajuku.
I just got back from an hour at Ardcore Day, and it was interesting enough I’ll probably give it another go next year. The tickets are sold for 3,400円 and you get four drink tickets (Wee Beastie, Ardbeg 10, Ardcore 46%, and a cocktail), a bottle of water, and about a 30m musical punk-rock live performance from one of three bands depending on the day — today was Panorama Panama Town and they rocked it.
The setup was mostly kitschy LVMH marketing screed with lots of little standing stables, and “event areas” where something was actively going on.
My favourite small marketing tactic was introducing live graffiti-style art, where artists were producing Ardbeg Ardcore mural live during the show. Or perhaps embellishing them, as they were quite complete on this 3rd and final day already. But it’s super cool to watch!
The next fun spot was a 30m live music set — today’s band, Panorama Panama Town actually got down into a fairly punky sound, and I wasn’t expecting this from previous events, so I enjoyed it a lot. (Serves me right for not reading the website properly beforehand!)
If you wanna rock out to Ardbeg’s Hardcore playlist, they’ve curated this on Spotify:
Merch: Ardbeg brought three years of tee-shirts (2020/21/22), buttons, and their usual large/small tumblers. I was quite pleased at the apparel, I think because of Corona, it’s only until now they’ve been able to host Ardbeg Day again in Japan, so it was great to have all three years of tees.
Finally, whisky! The first was a lemon-mint cocktail made with Ardbeg Wee Beastie. It was decent, but far better once the ice melted a little bit, the mint was bruised under my fingers, and the lemon squeezed (it was frozen :S) some more:
Ardbeg 10 was my favourite dram of the day — it’s a classic for a reason. It’s cheap, it’s decent quality, it’s Ardbeg’s primary vehicle for convincing new people that Ardbeg is worth drinking.
I was here to (a) buy teeshirts and (b) try the Ardcore. Ardcore, which they dispensed in half-size amounts to the other three drink tickets, is limited, but for what reason I can’t tell. It tastes extremely young, it’s very light, and it feels herby, hot, and sour. The closest thing I can think of to it is Isle of Raasay’s R01, except that Raasay has more complexity and is more transparent about its process and cask makeup.
That said, every year Ardbeg does a special release for the fans, and hosts Ardbeg Day, which is a lot of fun, and worth going, even if the dram of the year is amazing or a miss.