Events Whisky

Ardbeg Day 2014 & Auriverdes

Ardbeg Day. That long anticipated yearly event finally arrived on the weekend with Australia being one of the first to celebrate around the globe.

Debuting in Sydney in 2012 with the Islay-lympics, last year saw the archaeologically-themed Ardbog Day and 2014 brought a timely World Cup theme with football games and collectors’ prizes to be won.

Photography © by Kevin Burke for Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved. 

Held at the Mint by Trippas White Group in Sydney on 31 May, Ardbeggians were welcomed by relatives of Shortie, the Ardbeg distllery dog and mascot before sipping on tasty Ardbeg cocktails. Half Time with Shortie was a refreshing mix of Ardbeg 10 with pear nectar, simple syrup, vanilla and orange bitters while the Fi’Islay offered a sweeter alternative with Brazilian Acai, simple syrup, raspberry and mint.

Mark Bosnich, former Australian goalkeeper MC’d the event which kicked off officially with an entertaining game of human foosball. Food was plentiful and canapes started with a favourite combination of oysters and Ardbeg and moved to hearty hot dogs and roast pig on a spit.

As well as the festivities of the day, Ardbeg Day generates much anticipation among avid fans with the unveiling of the new limited release expression which is tasted on the day. However, this year, much of that excitement was lost when Auriverdes was served and it had nothing to do with the absence of pipers.

There have been several written (p)reviews in Australian blogs and media of the 2014 Ardbeg Day release that there were no surprises on the day. It seems that Christmas came early to some and Santa had delegated to booze fairies who dropped golden bottles of Auriverdes down some select chimneys.

We knew as far back as early April that the name is a hybrid of the golden whisky (Auri) and Ardbeg’s green (Verde) bottle. We knew it was bottled at 49.9% ABV, matured in American Oak casks with toasted heads, and had no age statement. We knew the RRP and the date of availability of the liquid. We read quoted official tasting notes and knew it had mocha coffee on the nose with herbal notes and it lingered with smoky vanilla notes from the American oak. In short, the official unveiling of Auriverdes lacked the sweet element of surprise.

Compared to the flagship Ardbeg 10 yo, Auriverdes is less peated on the nose with a distinct sweet and smoky flavour on the palate. Coffee notes are evident as well as vanilla and peat giving the liquid a sweet and moreish richness. The dram is surprisingly easy to sip for its ABV and is a fine expression of the distillery’s limited release.

Ardbeg Day unites Ardbeg Committee members and Ardbeg fans of the Islay whisky in a fun-filled event that is unlike any other. Who can forget the brave Speedo-clad teams from the Ardbeg embassies at the Islay-lympics or the teams digging and assembling archeological artefacts, and this year’s human foosball. There is much to like and admire about a whisky brand that likes to reward its global community with good times and good whisky. Bring on Ardbeg Day 2015, without the spoilers.



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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.