After attending Ardbeg Day in Sydney in 2012, 2013 and again in 2014 (each event one of the best of the year), it was a shame to miss out on 2015's celebrations, though luckily Hendy attended and brought us all the info and some great photos.
Not being in Sydney again this year, I assumed I'd again be missing out on all the fun, when I learned that an official
Ardbeg Day Ardbeg Night was happening here in Hong Kong!
So along I went last Friday night to check it out and see how the event compared to the incredible Sydney Ardbeg Days.
Held in a tri-level function space known as "The Warehouse" in Sai Ying Pun (which the organisers must have assumed would be hard to find, as they had staff placed in the surrounding streets directing guests all night), the party followed a similar format to Ardbeg Days in Sydney and around the world - i.e. games, giveaways, cocktails and a whole lot of Ardbeg.
A small desk set up on the street welcomed guests with an Ardbeg Day t-shirt, and a pair of 3D glasses which were required to read the secret codewords to gain entry ("Dark, Smoky, Peaty").
Giving the codewords at the entrance saw guests "branded" with an Ardbeg stamp, before being offered a welcome drink (Ardbeg 10 - neat or on the rocks) and the chance to have their photo taken with the Smuggler's Cove backdrop. Guests were also given stampcards, which after filling with two stamps (available by winning the games), entitled them to a hearty pour of Uigedail on the top level.
Heading up the stairs to the first level, guests were free to choose from 3 games (Tug o' War, "Stand Ardbeg up" and a boat game), or enjoy canapés and Bloody Marys made with Ardbeg 10 (which were delicious). We arrived right as the event started (hence the photos being not-too-crowded), but within 20 minutes the venue was packed.
As well as the Uigedail, the top level also had space for guests to sit and chat, and a (very challenging!) two-person game involving a ship's steering wheel, a silver marker and a maze. Fun, but not easy (and even less so after a few Uigedails)!
Another game involved seeing how long guests could hold an Ardbeg Mor (4.5L bottle / Jeroboam) with an outstretched arm (on the way out yours truly set the record at 1:01 - a time we're not sure was later beaten)!
With the Ardbeg flowing freely, the DJ keeping the venue cranking and everyone enjoying the games, it was a great night, even if it was a smaller celebration than the previous Sydney events.
Of course - you may wonder when the Dark Cove appeared. Sadly, it didn't! Hong Kong isn't getting an allocation (of either the regular edition or the Committee Release), and so there was none on tasting. See here for our tasting notes on the Committee Release from last month, and Hendy will have his thoughts on the regular edition, along with his write-up of the Sydney celebrations, up shortly).