Ardbeg “Auriverdes”

Ardbeg AuriverdesThis site may have an Ardbeg problem. And let us tell you, that’s the kind of problem you want to have! Ardbeg has made a regular habit of releasing limited offerings every year or so over the past decade. Some are bigger hits than others, but they’re all No Age Statement (NAS) bottlings that each have a unique character. Some get brought into the regular line up, like the Uigeadail, while others remain hallowed and elusive (helloArdbog). This year’s name is a tip of the hat to the 2014 World Cup, held in Brazil. Auriverdes means “gold” and “green,” which are the colors of Brazil. Ardbeg claims that the whisky is gold and the bottle is green – also very true. Will this new entry be able to stand tall on the Ardbeg team?

Distillery: Ardbeg
Region: Islay
Age: NAS
Strength: 49.9%
Price: $99.99
Location: Port Ellen
Maturation: Toasted cask lids
Nose: Applewood smoke, peat
Palate: Creamed honey, cinnamon, peat, maple bacon (with water), sweet
Finish: Pepper, toast, smoke, peat

Comments: Adding water opens up the flavor and decreases the acidic edge, as well as adding a little sweetness.

Adam – So nice and a little more complex than I’m used to encountering in an Ardbeg. I wasn’t completely sold the first time or two I tried it, but the right amount of water is golden. The toasted cask lids help add a little bit of that nice sweet and spicy element to the finish. I like that the peat is not so dominant, allowing some other flavor profiles to add complexity while still leaving that amazing finish that seems a hallmark of this distillery. These special offerings are a little more expensive than I’d prefer but if they keep on crafting such spirits as this, I won’t complain. Few things in life are worth the money, but Ardbeg continues to be among that select company.

Kate – This Scotch is like a mistress – it’s a guilty pleasure.

Meghan – Sweet smoke and warm caramel. Sweet, smoky, and sultry: sex in a dram.

Henry – Discovering new whiskies is like a journey. Travel to exotic, beautiful places, smell their flowers and taste their fruit. Meet exotic, beautiful people, and taste… You know what I mean. But after every journey, I like to come home to my little house between the mountains and the sea, and my little house has four corners: peat, brine, honey, and smoke. Ardbeg’s yearly committee releases are like a well-built house of polished wood, each unique but all of them artfully-crafted. Even the color is rich, warm and welcoming. Sunset in the islands, folks. It’s the way life should be.

The Auriverdes starts with a perfectly balanced nose of honey, iodine, and peat. On the palate, smoke blends with and eventually dominates the three, and commands the oily, lingering finish – one with which you will, eventually, be sad to part. Welcome home. You’ll be staying a while.