Ardbeg Auriverdes Review

“The Sweetest Taboo”

Whisky Review # 618

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Ardbeg Auriverdes
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS (Apparently distilled in 2002)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 49.9%
Maturation: American Oak Ex-Bourbon Barrels
Chill Filtration: No 
Price Range: US$ 140-200 (June 2017) US$ 80 at date of release.
Buying Advice: 😡  Way too expensive.  Better stick to the core range!

Colour: Light Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose: Surprisingly Light and Sweet when compared to the 10 Years. There is some Wet Earth and Campfire Smoke present of course but I certainly wouldn't consider them too dominant. I also find other Islay notes like Burnt Toast, Iodine, Brine, Tar, Soot, Diesel Oil, Ashes, Rubber Tyres, PVC Pipes and Leather. If you don't fancy those Aromas in a Whisky, rest assured. They are balanced by more pleasant sounding notes of Bacon, Fish and Shell Fish on the BBQ, Charred Oak, Vanilla, Caramel, Sweet Barley, Straw, Grapefruit Juice, Dried Herbs, Licorice, Flaked Chili Pepper, After Eight Mint Chocolate and Lemon Zest. The Auriverdes is a relatively Young Whisky and the Alcohol is not yet totally integrated. On the Nose, the Auriverdes comes across as an Islay "Light" Malt. The Peat lovers amongst us might find that slightly disappointing but to the general public it's certainly a more accessible Ardbeg nose. In my opinion it's not bad but as you know I'm not too fond of this sort of compromises that seek to please as many consumers as possible.   

Ardbeg - Visit May 2017
Palate: Quite Spicy and Medicinal at first but Sugary Sweet soon thereafter. This is not at all my cup of Whisky! I find Buttered Toast, Caramel, Toffee, Charred Oak, Wet Earth, Ashes, Soot, Tar, Leather, Bacon, Sugared Herbal Tea, Lemon, Grapefruit, Pepper, Salt, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Licorice, Cocoa, Menthol and a hint of Coffee Flavoured Dark Chocolate. 

Finish: Middle-Long. Mostly Sugary Sweet but with some Bitter, Sour and Salty elements as well. More Dry in the end. The Alcohol and Charred Oak can't hide the presence of some young Spirit. I find Wet Earth, Charred Oak, Ashes, Soot, Tar, Iodine, Burnt Plastic, Bacon, Grapefruit, Lemon,  Toffee, Caramel, Sugared Tea, Sweet Licorice, Dark Chocolate, Ginger, Nutmeg and Menthol. Floral Soap after a few minutes.

Ardbeg - Visit May 2017

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and the Sweet Peat on the Nose develops. Palate and Finish become unpleasantly Sweet though. Better sip the Auriverdes neat.

Rating: 83     

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 20.5

General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky:

The current Distillery was founded in 1815 by John MacDougall close to the little town of Port Ellen on the island of Islay. In 1997 the distillery was bought by The Glenmorangie Company (part of French based Moet Hennessy) from the previous owners Allied Distillers. This company closed Ardbeg between 1981 and 1989 and only produced yearly during 2 months between 1989 and 1997. As a result, Ardbeg is lacking older stocks and is almost forced to launch Limited Editions while maintaining a very limited core range that consists of the 10 Years, the Corryvreckan and the Uigeadail. Like Glenmorangie, Ardbeg likes to experiment with Wood, Toasting and NAS expressions.

The Auriverdes was launched on May 31, 2014 to celebrate both Ardbeg Day 2014 and the World Cup Football 2014 in Brazil. Auri (Gold) and Verdes (Green) refer to the Brazilian National Colours as well as to the Golden Ardbeg Whisky that is sold in the well-known Green bottles.

🍷  The Spirit: 

Ardbeg possesses only one pair of Stills with tall necks and rising Lyne arms that create lots of Reflux. A Purifier is connected to the Spirit Still that takes out the heavy Vapours and guarantees a Lighter and Fruity Spirit. The Water for the Spirit is sourced from Loch Uigeadail.

🌲  The Wood:

The Spirit for the Auriverdes matured in Charred American Oak Bourbon Barrels with new specially toasted American Oak lids. This Spirit was later blended with a percentage of Ardbeg Spirit that matured in standard 1st and 2nd Fill Ex-Bourbon Barrels.
Drinking Experience Neat:

The Nose is certainly Okay but Palate and Finish are way too Sweet for my taste.


The Ardbeg Auriverdes is not a bad Single Malt but it's not as good as the core range. Therefore it's way too expensive for what it offers. As a concept and taste wise it does not work for me personally as well. The Nose is quite okay and sufficiently balanced although much Lighter than you would expect of an Ardbeg. Many people would probably call it more accessible though so it's not necessarily a bad thing except for Hard Core Peat adepts. On the Palate and in the Finish however the Charred Oak and the High ABV can't hide the fact that there's some very Young and slightly Sharp Malt Whisky in the mix. And it's Sugary Sweet, way too Sweet for my taste. I don't think I have ever tasted such a Sweet Ardbeg before. If you like Sweet then it's fine of course but I will pass next time somebody offers me an Auriverdes.

Jan van den Ende                                                                      June 19, 2017

Ardbeg - Visit May 2017

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