One thing you can expect from the mind of Ardbeg’s Director of Whisky Creation, Dr Bill Lumsden, is the unexpected.

And this year’s limited release, Ardbeg BizarreBQ, does not disappoint. In a concerted effort with pitmaster Christian Stevenson (who goes by DJ BBQ), Lumsden and Team Ardbeg designed this smoky, meaty, and rich single malt to dovetail perfectly with barbecue flavors.

To arrive at this expression, Lumsden employed various cask styles to tease out BBQ-focused flavors through what he calls an “experimental cask toasting process.” Double-charred oak casks, Pedro Ximénez sherry, and “BBQ casks,” meaning extra charred barrels, were all in the mix. The whisky was bottled at 50.9% ABV, or 101.8 proof.

“Ardbeg BizarreBQ is certainly a hare-brained idea, but with DJ BBQ’s help, I was able to cook up something truly incredible, says Dr. Bill Lumsden. If there’s one Ardbeg you want with you grill-side, it’s this one.”

Arbeg began its collaboration with Stevenson in 2020 to create The Smoke Sessions, a YouTube series exploring the world of barbecue and whiskey through the eyes of Arbeg, including plenty of marinated meats and smoky Scotch cocktails. The BizarreBQ World Tour followed the series, where Stevenson seeks out the world’s wildest BBQ dishes.

“Barbeque and Ardbeg lovers are one and the same. This new Limited-Edition Ardbeg takes this match made in heaven to the next level, and I can’t wait for BBQ and whisky fans to try it.”

—Christian Stevenson (AKA DJ BBQ)

How Does It Taste?

Company tasting notes promise charcoal and soot mingling with smoky wood, herbs, and spice on the nose, flecked with toffee, smoked ham, cinnamon, and espresso. Expect a spicy palate “like BBQ ribs smothered in chili.” Smoke, flame-grilled steak, chili oil, cured leather, and clove flavors dominate, with a supporting cast of ginger, aniseed, and tar.

Ardbeg BizarreBQ will be on store shelves in June 2023 with an MSRP of $85.

Learn More About Ardbeg Single Malt Whisky

Spirits writers, marketers and designers are among the most influential forces in the spirits industry. Their opinions, ideas and creative talents inform and influence consumer perceptions and buying decisions. The John Barleycorn Society was started by a group of spirits journalists seeking to honor excellence in all facets of the industry. The journalists spent several years creating a comprehensive competition that became the John Barleycorn Awards. An elite team of authoritative and influential spirits journalists was selected to administer the flagship component of the Awards, a blind tasting competition destined to become the preeminent arbitrator of spirits taste, quality and character.