Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ardbeg Auriverdes: Islay Festival 2014 Limited Edition

When I came across this one in a local bottle shop here in Tokyo, I knew nothing about it; though Ardbeg Ten was the whisky that hooked me and opened my mind to exploring the world of Islay whiskies, I hadn't paid much attention to their special bottlings up to that point. For awhile, I'd searched online for Supernova, but hadn't been able to track down any bottles in Japan. I'd not seen anything about Auriverdes, though.

The scoop on Ardbeg Auriverdes

A quick check on the old iPhone gave me all I needed to know to make the decision to purchase the shop's last bottle of Auriverdes for ¥9500 (~$85 US). I opened it at the bar a couple of nights later and tasted it. Now, I know this one has gotten a fair bit of negative feedback, but after trying it twice more on different nights, I have to say that Auriverdes is the tastiest Ardbeg I've had. My experience is relatively limited, so take that with a grain of salt; As my experience with different Ardbeg expressions grows, my opinion is likely to change.

Anyway...

Tasting Notes

Appearance:
Honey Gold

Nose:
Peat (good development from soft to big), coastal notes (sea spray), wintergreen, medicinal notes (phenolic), briny, eucalyptus, enamel paint, antiseptic, eye-stinging citrus, cinnamon, smoked bacon, becomes a little buttery , toasted chocolate marshmallows

Palate:
Forceful kiss 
Lip & tongue tingling, sweet mint, medium smoke, sweet phenolic (reminiscent of Laphroaig QC), vanilla, toasted marshmallows, mocha 

Finish:
Long Instant warmth continuing, ashy (charred oak), 70% cacao chocolate, burnt-crispy bacon, coriander

Conclusion: Once you get near a price of $100 per bottle, you have to start being much more selective. As Ardbeg Auriverdes is a limited-edition whisky, it's definitely collectible. So, picking up a bottle and leaving it closed isn't a bad idea, if you're inclined to collect whiskies. For personal drinking, it's hard to make an absolute statement like, You should definitely give this one a go, but I can say, without reservation, that I'm at least as happy with this purchase as I am with any I've ever made. As a bonus, I keep this bottle at the bar and have sold a few glasses already with each customer having thoroughly enjoyed their drams. So, I've already come close to making my money back on the bottle purchase. In fact, seeing the whisky level in the bottle drop made me a little sad knowing that after it disappeared, I probably wouldn't be able to enjoy a glass of Auriverdes again.

So, imagine my pleasant surprise when I found another lone bottle at another local shop (in Ginza) for only ¥9000 (~$7600 US)...

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