By the Whisky Couple

If looking for one single malt whisky as cult fodder for collectors, Ardbeg is a prime candidate. The distillery is more than 200 years old and known for releasing interesting and innovative expressions of the cratur. Collectors of this imaginative heavily peated single malt can be found anywhere in the world. One of the most colourful “Ardbeg characters” is American Tim Puett.

His introduction to single malt happened in 2006. Tim was working on a weekend project in the office and after having resolved a particular problem, his boss presented him with a bottle of Ardbeg Ten as a thank you. Although he had tasted blends, this one proved to open his eyes to the world of whisky. He dove into Ardbeg, reading as much as he could to learn about it, starting on the whiskymag forums, where he quickly met various great whisky enthusiasts, many of which he still talks to today and met in person later on.

As with most collectors, Tim would not immediately classify himself as “a real collector.” Some harder-to-find bottles were already opened and shared with friends, but he continues to acquire as many Ardbeg releases as he can and enjoys sharing the contents with future enthusiasts. When he got into whisky, many of the people he met were very generous with their whisky, especially with whisky that was no longer available on shelves at the time Tim discovered single malt. Tim specifically chose Ardbeg, as it was the distillery that opened his eyes to the whisky world. He had already been spending much of his spare time researching Ardbeg and purchasing all new releases that came available.

Tim is humble about his commitment to Ardbeg, but he can be credited with the setting up of “The Ardbeg Project.” As an IT specialist the collection of data was familiar to him and that is where it all began. The Ardbeg Project was the result of his drive to compile information and he created a website as a repository for his information. He started collecting bottle codes as a way to differentiate different batches of the Ardbeg Ten Years Old, but that rapidly led to collecting codes for all Ardbeg releases.

As of today, ardbegproject.com is a massive treasure trove for all who want to know the intricacies of the brand and its history. A near complete list of bottlings is available one click away and all bottle codes are neatly arranged in a separate section. Ardbeg videos, images, ads, songs and books are organized under a “media” tab. A section called “Ardnuts” contains an extensive “FAQ and Answers” list, as well as biographies of famous Ardbeg collectors from Belgium, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Germany. Also links can be found to auctions, blogs, forums and shops.

Tim is also a member of the obscure PLOWED Society, which meets up annually at an event known as “Ardbeggeddon.” It is held in a secret location where members come together to open and share great whisky and great company. It has been held annually since 2000.

 

By the way: Ardbeg’s iconic twin pagodas have been immortalized in our latest book A Field Guide to Whisky. The pagodas once served as the chimneys for Ardbeg’s own malting floor, but were converted into a cozy restaurant and gift shop years ago. For those who already have a copy of the Field Guide, see page 271. For those who haven’t, run to Buxton Books at the corner of Concord and Cumberland streets to get your own copy! The book is flying off the shelves and already in its second print run since the launch in Charleston this past June. Huzzah!

 

Mercury newspaper racks are located at the following locations:

The Meeting Street Inn

Clair's Service Station at 334 Folly Rd.

Harris Teeter on Houston-Northcutt Blvd.

The Square Onion in I'On

Mt. Pleasant Library on Mathis Ferry Rd.