Ardbeg release limited edition “World Cup Marking” Auriverdes
What Ardbeg say:
On 31st May 2014, which is Ardbeg Day; the distillery’s annual global celebration of all things Ardbeg, they will release the limited edition “Auriverdes” which has been matured in American oak casks with specially toasted casks lids which were tailor-made for this whisky.
The toasting technique has given the whisky a distinctive flavour profile with the lids producing a mocha coffee flavour at one end, flowing into creamy vanilla at the other – truly a dram of two halves!
The name “Auriverdes” derives from the colour of the golden whisky (auri) in Arddbeg’s iconic green bottle (verde). It is also the nickname of the national football team of Brazil, who are hosting this summer’s World Cup, and inspiration behind Ardbeg’s Peat Football tournament which will be happening all around the world on Aredbeg Day, culminating in the Ardbeg Swamp Football World Cup on June 28th and 29th in Argyll, Scotland.
Dr Bill Lumsden, Director of Distillation and Whisky Creation, explains: “When creating Auriverdes I had a distinct flavour profile in mind that I wanted to achieve, so I specifically created the heart of the recipe to bring that to life. It is an expression of Ardbeg which has exceeded all my expectations – it has the trademark Ardbeg undertones with a distinct new taste experience. Ardbeg Auriverdes has an explosive mouthfeel which gives way to complex flavours of coffee grounds, liquorice, maple smoked ham, malty/biscuit notes, white pepper and a good sweet/salty balance.”
What we say
We are very interested to try this, as it’s fair to say, that whilst some of the limited edition bottlings have been really well received. In particular the limited edition Galileo, which picked up the “World’s Best Single Malt” at the World Whisky Awards 2013, there are other slightly more controversial bottlings like the Ardbog. This appears to be very much a marmite type of dram, you either love it or hate it and it split opinion with even the most diehard of Ardbeg fans. There are rumours that Ardbeg have been focussing too much on the gimmicks as oppose the whisky itself and this will hopefully either prove or disprove this fact.
Islay in a glass, lovely rich peat, hints of salt, seaweed drying on a beach, sweet caramel just kisses the nose and then hints of five spice and aniseed come charging through. Sweet and savoury marry like a good homemade pea and ham soup. Fennel with a touch of pine, tailing off with a fresh sage/menthol combination with just a nod to cereal maltiness.
Although not particularly evident on the nose, the coffee notes definitely are first to come through on the palate, bitter espresso colliding with good quality dark chocolate, not 80% cocoa solids but 100% cocoa, drying yet satisfying. On the roof of the mouth the delicate chilli tingle with a sprinkling of white pepper and the lovely peat smoke as promised on the nose. As these notes start to fade a gentle vanilla creaminess comes through, think dream topping on Nan’s homemade trifle and a touch of nuttiness. The slight malted notes on the nose intermingle with the smoke.
Medium to long finish. There has been much speculation with this Ardbeg, but for me I have to say I think it’s a cracker (and personally I disliked the Ardbog very much), this is a return to form for me. I was so surprised by the nose, it would be easy to mistake this for other Islay whiskies. This is so easy drinking, which I think is due largely to the sweet edge which comes through at the end. I would happily drink this over and over. There are so many flavours coming through, subtle kisses of herbs, spices, a gentle meatiness, all working in perfect harmony. The Auriverdes for me, really is worth the hype! Buy some, this is at least as good as the Ten, and maybe, dare I say it, better.
Fresh, clean a burst of citrus, slight chocolate notes, more milk than dark, pencil shavings covered in vanilla, followed by a typically Ardbeg peaty punch.
Starts off with a big cream covered apple pie note, before the spiciness comes through with a bang, before bursting into a clean citrus tart. Milk chocolate rushes through quickly, leaving a creamy sensation in the mouth. The peat is most definitely there but not overpowering tapering off leaving you knowing that you’ve had something special.
The finish on this makes you want to reach for the glass again. Once the glass is empty you have to go back to the bottle. A gorgeous relaxing trip to the south coast of Islay, however which part? This is a wonderful dram but you could easily mistake it for one of its close neighbours. This isn’t a criticism however, maybe it’s just because this quality hasn’t been seen for a long while from an Ardbeg special release. Definitely a must buy dram and in my opinion worth the RRP of £79.99, get in quick once this is released. I know I will.
With a big thanks to Ardbeg for the official sample.
Don’t forget as mentioned, Auriverdes is released 31st May 2014 – “Ardbeg Day” RRP £79.99!