Officially released 31 May 2014, 49.9% ABV
On 31 May 2014, Ardbeg will officially release their third annual Ardbeg Day whisky, Auriverdes – the name being a nod to the golden (auri) Ardbeg whisky and the iconic Ardbeg green (vedre) bottle.
The bottle labeling also points to subtle second meaning in the name, with Auriverdes said to be ‘a winning dram’ with vanilla ‘driving the flavour home’ with this Ardbeg being a ‘kick’. In case you doubted the not-too-subtle World Cup references, then the sight of this stunning trophy – I mean – bottle will surely change your mind!
I guess this one can simply be called Auri.
Auriverdes is described as being a whisky of two halves, with the official release citing a new toasting technique that gives the whisky ‘a mocha coffee flavour at one end, flowing into creamy vanilla at the other’.
I’m thinking this could mean that cask the lids have each been charred to a different level? Until such time as I get an audience with its creator, the talented Dr Bill Lumsden, that’s just going to have to remain a guess. As for the remaining particulars, it’s bottled at 49.9% ABV following an unknown number of years of maturation in American Oak casks.
It was a bittersweet moment cracking open this bottle. On one hand, I was opening the most striking, individual looking bottle I’ve ever owned. On the other hand though, I knew it was full of Ardbeg – and no ordinary Ardbeg at that – a new expression that I was fortunate enough to get a sneak preview of, ahead of its official release. With a squeak and a th’dunk, that cork was out and a dram was poured.
It’s golden indeed! Shall we give it a taste?
Up front, I get some pretty big sweet creamy vanilla notes, milky chocolate and a slight peaty freshness (almost light in a way – not overly medicinal or earthy). After a few minutes I got some grassy hay, a dry herbal character and some hints of lemon and mandarin zest.
Quite spicy up front. A nice oiliness gives way to some pretty boisterous, tarry medicinal peat – more than I got from the nose, that’s for sure. Tangy saline emerges, along with a fair pinch of spice, zest and a subtle honey sweetness. Overall, still quite dry and fairly light.
A fairly lengthy, warming finish, albeit quite dry and slightly tannic. I got some more vanilla sweetness at first, but that seemed to fade to a good helping of ashy peat and smoked meats, which linger to the end.
Overall, I found this to be a lighter style of Ardbeg, taking some of the freshness of Ardbeg Day, but picking up on the subtle rounded notes of Ardbog. In the end though, it’s very different to both and a completely unique expression in its own right. As with the other two, I’m not sure I can liken it to anything else Ardbeg currently offer.
I’m so glad Dr Bill and the Ardbeg boffins continue to mix it up and experiment with their stocks, putting their crazy ideas into practice and coming up with some pretty exciting creations.
In 31 sleeps, Ardbeg fans the world over are going to be in for a bit of a treat when this gets released. If you haven’t done so yet, sign up to the Ardbeg Committee and come along to Ardbeg Day on 31 May.
If you can’t make it – don’t fret – you can also get your hands on your very own (green) bottle of Auriverdes from specialist retailers right around the country from 31 May at an RRP of AU $135.70 (which is actually cheaper than the £80 RRP in the UK – Shh, don’t tell them!)
A sincere thanks to Ardbeg Australia for the sneak preview. Bring on Ardbeg Day!
Edit – I’ve since been advised that the RRP in Australia is actually AU $190 and not $135.70 as referenced above.