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Ardbeg Auriverdes

Let the madness begin!

0 985

@MaltActivistReview by @MaltActivist

28th May 2014


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

It's that time of the year again, folks! When emotions trump logic. When clear thinking is clouded. When, like crack addicts, we go insane for that one hit we have been waiting for since June 1 of last year.

I am, of course, talking about Ardbeg's yearly Festival Release. This years' must-have bottling is called the AuriVerdes.

'Auri' means gold and 'Verdes' means green. Which is basically to say there is gold liquid inside this green bottle. In Portugese. Not terribly creative I admit. It's also the name of the Brazilian football team and, with the World Cup just around the corner, this is quite possibly a lawsuit in the making.

Let's hope FIFA doesn't bankrupt Ardbeg. How would we spend our hard earned cash on mediocre whiskies, otherwise?

This one has seen quite a different maturation process compared to other Ardbegs. The casks are American white oak ex-Bourbon barrels with normal Bourbon specification charring. Once in Scotland the heads were replaced with new American oak heads treated to a particular (and secret) toasting regime.

These re-worked barrels were then filled with spirit and ultimately blended together with Ardbeg from 1st and 2nd fill Bourbon barrels.

The idea was that the different wood elements would each lend their unique flavor profiles and create an entirely new flavor profile.

Did they succeed in a creating a unique flavored Ardbeg? Yes. Is it fantastic? Nope.

Nose: Very herbacious and heathery. Looking at the pale olive liquid in the glass one need not be surprised. The peat is subdued amid the vanilla butterscotch and stewed fruit. Some garam masala finds it's way towards the end as well. The aromas are there but just not confident enough to create a lasting impression.

Palate: Quite thin and weak in my opinion. Very unlike an Ardbeg should be. Maybe they're going for a newer audience that likes their whiskies unchallenging. Spicy spearmint with the same ashy greens as the nose. Maybe a chocolate pear in there too.

Finish: Medium with a touch of spice.

Had it at a tasting recently and a majority of Ardbeg fans in the room turned their noses up. As an avid anti-marketing whisky fan it pains me to see my favorite distillery riding on the back of it's cult status and cool gimmicks instead of really focusing their blood and guts into making their whiskies the best in the world.

Which they were. And can still be.

Till then I will continue to be a fanboy and buy what ever it is they produce. But I suspect even die hard fans have their patience.

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Frost commented

@MaltActivist interesting review - thank you. I wasn't sure what to expect from this new expression.

How does the 49.9% go down? You state it's a bit thin and weak.

9 years ago 0

MaltActivist commented

@Frost just like you suspect. Quite thin and weak. A lot more earthy than other Ardbegs. Probably closest to the 10 than anything else but without the confidence. I think the experiment's gone a bit wayward. I will, of course, re-visit this later on but till then I am not impressed.

9 years ago 0

Victor commented

Thanks, @MaltActivist for your review.

Well, what do you do if you are a whiskymaker and suffering the problem of unprecedented demand for your product? What do you do when you have seriously dwindling supply of product which takes 10-20 years to age? This is happening to the old guard distillers all over the world right now.

Getting more flavour out of relatively young whiskies is a task which most of the distilleries have been at for some time now. Playing with new vs. used oak, the use of smaller barrels, residue from exotic spirits in the woods used, and the use of charring to get more out of the wood, have been the main tools used in this quest. For my taste the exotic measures really only work well once in awhile. More often than not they still taste mostly like shortcuts have been employed, which they have.

I will be interested in sampling the Auriverdes. It remains to be seen what happens when it gets some air time also.

9 years ago 0

MaltActivist commented

@Victor normally I would agree with you and sympathize with the old guard distillers over lack of supply. However, this is the same distillery that gave us a 6 yr old Very Young and an 8 year old sublime Still Young. So coaxing flavors out of young whiskies is something they know quite well.

Kilkerran with their WIP series have some real stunners. Kilchoman of late have been producing wonderful flavors.

Besides this expression has a lot of non-experimental Ardbeg in it as well. So maybe the fault lies in the blending?

I will re-visit this after a while and report back. Maybe it's turned for the better.

9 years ago 0

Onibubba commented

An 85 is about where I would put this too. And there is nothing wrong with that. An 85 is good whisky. I will quite happily be finishing my bottle. I just won't be picking up another one. The biggest fault I can find with this is the price. 85-100 dollars is a lot for "good."

9 years ago 0

Victor commented

@MaltActivist, it will be very interesting to see what the 2nd and 3 impressions are for Ardbeg Auriverdes.

@Onibubba, as you say, 85 is not "bad" whisky, just not what we are expecting from Ardbeg. And yes, for $ 85-100 I too am expecting top tier flavour.

9 years ago 0

Bigtuna commented

While it's not likely to happen, a cask strength 10 would be a lot better than all these hyped finishes. But I imagine their stocks could not even handle a small release and the price point would be well into the $200 range.

9 years ago 0

DaveM commented

Whisky Advocate gave the Auriverdes an '84' rating, so it seems you are right on track.

9 years ago 0

Pierre_W commented

Hi @MaltActivist, many thanks for this review. I'll get my bottle in a week's time, although your review does not sound too promising. In particular, a thin and weak palate is the last thing that I'd want to see in any Ardbeg. Pity, really.

9 years ago 0

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