One of my earliest football memories is from Italia 90. I remember standing in the kitchen, hiding behind the door so my younger brother wouldn’t know I was up watching the match, willing England to do the impossible and knock out West Germany. As the game progressed I moved to the lounge – it was too late for my brother to be up then – and was then inconsolable as Waddle lifted the kick higher and higher. This year has brought similar heartache – I’m a Liverpool fan. From so much promise to that slip, I’m delighted we’ve made so much progress but can only hanker after what might have been. And so with inevitable disappointment we head towards Brazil hoping Roy’s kids can finally stop us talking about 1966 and all that.. will we make it past the Italians’? Will Suarez stage a masterful recovery? Will we score a goal?
There is light at the end of the tunnel though, some optimism to look forward to. Ardbeg are releasing their annual ‘Ardbeg Day’ bottle on Saturday 31 May and this time they come over all Brazilian and themed it after the greatest show on earth. Auriverdes, meaning green (the Ardbeg bottle) and gold (the whisky), is the name of the release and we were fortunate enough to try it several weeks ago. This whisky has been matured in American oak which have custom toasted cask ends designed specifically for this whisky. The casks ends are designed to give a darker coffee flavour to contrast the vanilla you would expect from the American oak. The whisky, as you would expect from such a release, is naturally coloured, un-chillfiltered and bottled at 49.9%.
Nose: Lots of dry peat and classic ardbeg notes. The fresh coffee from the casks ends comes through strongly and mixes in with cocoa and rum and raisin ice-cream. Takes us back to cutting the peat with Dougie
Palate: Initial hints of jasmine before you are hit with thick black smoke and peat. A very sooty whisky with lots of heat – think beach BBQ, smoked fish and charred steak. Finally there is a hint of Albas Oil and ground coffee
Finish: The spirit lightens at the death bring up some floral notes and a final bite of peat
We have some incredibly fond memories of Ardbeg; from walking up to the loch on a Ardbeg hike, to Mike winning a massive bottle of Ardbog, to just sitting in front of the whitewashed walls and enjoying a dram with friends. As such we were incredibly excited by this release and it is a good, no very good whisky that will sell fantastically well. Personally though, I preferred the character of Ardbog – and part of that is in the Islay memories. That doesn’t take anything away from this dram – you’ll buy it because it’s Ardbeg and because it’s tasty, and you won’t be disappointed with it. And as you drink it lets hope you can lift it high as Gerrard crosses to Sturridge to slot in the winning goal on June 13 bringing some redemption for Liverpool and England!