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Whisky review: Ardbeg Auriverdes, Scotland

Rating
96.00
Price
$148.95 in B.C.

They have commemorative days now for everything: diseases, denim, grape varieties like chardonnay and malbec, and even the Earth itself. Ardbeg, one of the Earth's greatest whiskies and one of the most shrewdly marketed luxury-spirit brands, has declared itself worthy of a day, too. (To me it sure as heck makes more sense than Malbec Day.) The world's many enthusiasts of the Scottish brand will raise a toast and nod knowingly in the direction of Islay, its peat-carpeted home island, this year on May 31.

To commemorate Ardbeg Day 2014, the distillery will release a special, limited-edition whisky. It's called Auriverdes, a concatenation of the Latin root auri meaning "golden" and verdes for green. There's a double meaning to the reference. First: the golden whisky sealed in Ardbeg's classic dark-green bottle. Second: Auriverdes is the nickname of many Brazilian sports teams, including the estimable national soccer club, which – in its gold-and-green national colours – will play host to this summer's World Cup.

So much for nomenclature. The special-release whisky, which will hardly disappoint fans of the distillery's fantastic and assertively peaty-smoky flagship 10-year-old, has been matured in casks with specially toasted heads (the round disks at either end of a barrel). It's a powerhouse, but that's to be expected from Ardbeg, the peatiest brand on the planet. Where the 10-year-old to me has a pronounced bacon, salty-breeze and rounded barley-malt core, this one – at 49.9-per-cent alcohol versus 46 per cent – is spicier, leaning more toward high-toned smoked herbs on dry cereal.

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I'm not sure it would go down so well in a sweltering Sao Paulo stadium. But who needs to be in Brazil when you've got a bottle of Auriverdes in your home bar? Available in select British Columbia and Alberta stores imminently, it will be released in Ontario and Quebec in September.

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About the Author
Life columnist

Beppi Crosariol writes about wine and spirits in the Globe Life and Style sections.He has been The Globe's wine and spirits columnist for more than 10 years. In the late 1990s, he also wrote a food trends column called The Biting Edge.Beppi used to cover business law for ROB and previously edited the paper's weekly technology section. More

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