Tag Archives: Fèis Ìle

Ardbeg ‘Ardbog’

Bought: Whiskysite, Holland, 26th October 2015

78.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2016
87.22/100 – Whiskybase (average from 599 member votes)
94/100 – Whisky Bitch (her review on You Tube here)

When I blogged about the Ardbeg Perpetuum 2015 release in October I was musing over the possibility of getting the Ardbog 2013. One Ardbeg Day release deserves another! What was putting me off was Jim Murray’s review in his Whisky Bible where he says of the Ardbog “the best advice one can give about bogs is to avoid them.” 78.5/100 classifies the Ardbog in the bible as “average and usually pleasant but sometimes flawed”. Sadly Mr Murray doesn’t say what he thinks the flaw might be. Perhaps he doesn’t know! Perhaps he picked up the bottle and dropped it on his foot and decided to damn the ‘Bog in perpetuity. Normally Jim Murray scores Ardbeg distillery releases in the 90s but thankfully Ardbog is spared his lowest score which goes to the 2011 Islay Festival release, tagging a lowly 67/100.

But wait a minute, I’m a collector, so what does one person’s opinion matter? Well, if the Ardbog were to be damned by everyone who drank it then this would be remembered in 10-20 years time when I decided to sell my bottle. Thankfully this isn’t the case. Over 87/100 on Whiskybase from nearly 600 member votes is excellent and the Whisky Bitch clearly loves the Ardbog with a heady 94/100. I can find lots of examples where Jim Murray scores whiskies higher than the Ardbog that other reviewers score lower. It does rather make a mockery of any form of whisky scoring. I give the Ardbog 976.3/1000 and I’ve not even tasted it yet! 🙂

For a good review of the Ardbog, here’s the legendary Toshman, Mark Dermul:

Ardbeg Ardbog NAS 70cl

Ardbeg ‘Auriverdes’

Bought: Ardbeg Shop, 15th July 2015

91.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2015
85.95/100 – Whiskybase (average from 445 member votes)

As I write this blog the Auriverdes is still available from the Ardbeg online shop for £79.99 (delivery inside UK only). That might seem a lot for a NAS (non aged statement) single malt until you consider that this is Ardbeg and the Auriverdes is their special release for the Islay festival day of 2014. The Whisky Vault is selling it for £120. The 2013 festival release, Ardbog, is selling for £150, so expect the Auriverdes to be hitting that price next year. If you’re reading this in 2016, or later, sorry! I started collecting whisky in 2013 so I know what it’s like to miss out on previous bottlings. I doubt I’ll be buying the Ardbeg ‘Day’ any time soon because the 2012 release now costs £270 at ‘Hard to Find Whisky’.

The Auriverdes is a new addition to the Whisky Bible 2015 and 91.5/100 classifies this single malt as “brilliant”. The author, Jim Murray, says of the taste “astonishingly light delivery: softer than any baby’s bottom and maltier, too. Indeed the gristy malt is unusually powerful for an Ardbeg but only because the smoke, which is definitely there, seems preoccupied with a massive surge of vanilla.” He gives the finish a fantastic 24/25 (i.e., 96/100) and summaries with “this version appears to be about the casks, possibly the char of the barrels” and “a real curiosity”.

Nearly 86/100 on Whiskybase is a good score but the Ardbog gets over 87/100 and the Day hits the heights of 88/100. You have to wonder if the festival releases are diminishing in quality or the novelty of them is wearing off. Nevertheless, comments for the Auriverdes are very favourable with voters saying “I really like it. The lack of punchy peat smoke really lets out the fruity side”, “this was a feast” and “well worth it.” One person recommends letting it breath in the glass for 20-30 minutes before drinking, which is always worth trying.

Ardbeg Auriverdes 70cl

Ardbeg ‘Perpetuum’

Bought: The Whisky Exchange, 3rd June 2015

84.06/100 – Whiskybase (average from 321 member votes)
94/100 – Whisky Bitch (her You Tube video here)

The Ardbeg Perpetuum is the first time I’ve bought a special release from Ardbeg to celebrate Ardbeg Day. Releases appear to have started in 2012 to accompany the Islay celebrations of Fèis Ìle (festival of music and malt whisky). The first bottle was called ‘Day’ then ‘Ardbog’ in 2013, ‘Auriverdes’ in 2014 and now the ‘Perpetuum’. Not only is this to celebrate Ardbeg Day but also the 200th anniversary of the distillery. There have been Ardbeg bottlings called ‘Fèis Ìle’ such as the 2011 release and the one for 2010, which was only 228 bottles. I bet one of those wouldn’t be cheap at auction now!

I wasn’t intending to become an Ardbeg enthusiast but it’s hard to resist when you collect whisky. Since buying the Perpetuum I’ve acquired the Auriverdes and I’ve been mulling over getting the Ardbog. Not that I’d touch it if I were a devotee of Jim Murray and his Whisky Bible book. He scores it 78.5/100 in his 2014 bible with the remark “the best advice one can give about bogs is to avoid them.” Various sources have the Ardbog at £150, which is a similar price to 4 bottles of the standard 10yo, or 3 bottles of the amazing Uigeadail. But if collectors thought like that they wouldn’t be collectors!

As a comparison of Ardbeg Day releases, here are the Whiskybase scores for the Perpetuum against the previous 3 years:

  • 84.06/100 – 2015 Perpetuum (average from 321 member votes)
  • 85.98/100 – 2014 Auriverdes (average from 417 member votes)
  • 87.25/100 – 2013 Ardbog (average from 537 member votes)
  • 88.26/100 – 2012 Day (average from 231 member votes)

Ardbeg Perpetuum 2015 70cl