Yesterday I could taste the new Ardbeg release called „AURIVERDES“ for Ardbeg Day commemorating the World Cup in Brazil. The casks used for this bottling had specially toasted lids (cask ends) to enhance a wood influence highlighting aromas of vanilla and mocha to tame the wild beast. You can read all about the story, its marketing and other stuff on numerous websites, so let’s just focus on its taste here and see how the experiment worked out:
ARDBEG AURIVERDES 49,9%
Comment: To get a better picture I tasted it head-to-head with the regular releases, which aren’t miles away to begin with. So in general, this is a typical Ardbeg, yet special and immensely complex. And for me, it beats the Uigeadail or the TEN, because it has more balance, length and depth – but on the other hand it has less spice and power. Aside from the typical aromas of modern Ardbeg (peat-iodine-sulphur combo, mustard seed, tires, leather, white pepper, aloe vera/cactus, weeds, BBQ-sauce, cocoa, latte macchiato, toy train oil with a hot power transformer) the nose emphasizes soot, iodine (more than usual), vanilla pod, caramel, greener elements (bell peppers, ruccola, mint), burning resinous branches of firs, bacon, burnt steak with Norwegian smoke salt, coffee beans, chalk and tinned cream – all in perfect harmony. The taste profile on the palate, as always with newer Ardbeg, gets slim-lined and less aggressive than expected before it grows huge again in a long finish. The sheep in wolf’s clothing, so to speak. Surprisingly this one reminds me a bit of the old 17 y.o. because it comes across as mature, refined, balanced and mild, but in no way weakish. The green elements are almost gone (only wild garlic remains) making room for a creaminess that swallows edges and spices (less peppery and chili-like than the regular releases). Does a dish like ‚peat-chocolate-iodine-cream‘ exist, because this would be a perfect match? It simply tastes moreish like an older smoky Ardbeg. The finish gradually takes over and becomes absolutely huge: soot, loads of iodine, medium peat, resin, smoke and big Islay complexity. Impressive and long! I have to admit that this bottling keeps the promises and descriptions of the label. Really quaffable stuff for a night with good friends or after a hard working day. It rewards the people prefering finesse over raw power. Thanks to Gereon for the ’sneak peek‘.
P.S.: Supernova is coming back soon – we keep you posted …