I was surprised to come across this new Ardbeg Auriverdes at The Still when I dropped by on my way home from Farmers Market on Saturday. I knew it was the special bottling that would be released in association with their annual Ardbeg Day. I have been able to acquire some from this event in prior years after they went into wider production, like Ardbog and Ardbeg Alligator. But, never so soon. Admittedly, I was anxious to welcome this new member of my Ardbeg neighborhood.
According to the Ardbeg website, Auriverdes is “a whisky of two halves”. It is aged in the same bourbon barrels as other Ardbeg, but the cask lids are “toasted’ using a special treatment.
The nose does show some of the impact of this toasting of the lids, with a subtle smoke overlaying a mix of vanilla and brine. The palate is sweet on entry, followed with a subdued peat, closing with roasted coffee. The finish seems short and dry, more like I would expect in a young whisky.
I will need to visit this whisky again. In one respect, my first impression is that it is less Ardbeg-like than I would have expected. While the foundation is there, it is subtle and does not come across with some of the aggressive notes that expect to find in an Ardbeg. In some respects, it may be closer to Ardbeg Alligator than the classic Ardbeg 10.
This is why I will need to visit again and reassess. I came to this tasting with what I have come to expect from a fine Ardbeg on my mind, and in that respect I do find Auriverdes coming up a bit short. But, if someone had poured me a dram, given it to me without letting me know what it is, I think I would have made a more positive assessment. I would have likely recognized it as an Islay single malt, but perhaps not an Ardbeg.
Do not get me wrong, I will drink and enjoy it. It will just not rise to the level of being a favorite.