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Ardbeg’s whisky NFT is here: the Ardbeg Fon Fhòid

What you need to know:

  • Islay distillery Ardbeg announced the release of its limited edition Ardbeg Fon Fhòid that would be tied to a NFT.
  • Another one of Dr Bill Lumsden’s unusual maturation experiments, the Fon Fhòid was matured in ex-Bourbon barrels buried under the peat bogs of Islay for several years.
  • This results in an Ardbeg that has more depth of warmth, mossiness and earthiness. It is bottled at 45.5% ABV with an outturn of just 456 bottles.
  • Each would be sold for the price of 1 ETH (Ethereum) - currently valued at around US$3,100 - 3,200, and would be made available on BlockBar.com on 19 April 2022.
  • Cop the Drop or Not Verdict: Not - (unless the crypto market crashes and ETH plummets to about US$500) 

 

 

The mainstream whisky industry has started to jump on the blockchain hype train in various ways, from accepting crypto payments, to using the technology to combat counterfeits. But what’s on tip of the tongue for both bitcoin bulls and crypto critics is this thing called the “NFT” or non-fungible token. 

Rare casks and bottlings are now sold as assets tied to NFTs. Just last October, Glenfiddich Distillery released 15 NFTs for a 46-year-old Glenfiddich expression. All 15 were snapped up within all of 4 seconds online. 

Ardbeg is joining in the riot. 

 

(All images are credited to Ardbeg Distillery)

 

Earlier today, the Islay distillery announced to Committee Members the release of limited edition Ardbeg Fon Fhòid (Scottish Gaelic for “under the turf”) that would be released tied to a NFT. 456 tokens would be available for purchase on luxury NFT marketplace BlockBar.

If you still don’t know what an NFT is, but you’re too afraid to ask, a NFT can be understood as a digital proof of ownership to either a digital ‘thing’ (eg a Jpeg image hosted on a webserver), or a physical asset (an actual cask of whisky). 

Click here to learn more about how blockchain is changing the whisky industry.

 

 

The Juice

It’s not all hype and no substance. Ardbeg Fon Fhòid is the product of another one of Master Distiller Dr Bill Lumsden’s most unusual maturation experiments. 

To produce this whisky, which Ardbeg describes as literally “groundbreaking”, Dr Bill Lumsden and his team buried two already-matured ex-Bourbon barrels of Ardbeg under the peat bogs of Islay. Lumsden had a theory that burying the still-maturing whisky in an oxygen-deprived, water-laden, boggy place would result in a more earthy and smoky whisky.

Years later, Ardbeg broke the ground once again to unearth the casks. 

 

 

The subterranean maturation experiment resulted in a whisky with decidedly more depth of warmth, mossiness and earthiness according to Lumsden:

“I think it's safe to say we’ve unearthed a truly special Ardbeg here. Ardbeg Fon Fhòid is the epitome of Ardbeg – earthy, mucky and peaty, with one hell of a nose!”

The Fon Fhòid is an ex-Bourbon cask, Islay bog matured whisky bottled at 45.5% ABV, with an outturn of just 456 bottles

 

Official Tasting Notes
 
Colour
Pale straw.
 
Nose
Pungent, waxy and salty with a curious, but distinctive, mossy note. This is then followed by a hint of molasses or sugarcane. There is also a background musty/earthy note, like walking into a damp whisky warehouse. A splash of water releases some more herbal notes, almost like asparagus or artichoke. Next comes a waxy, oily fragrance, reminiscent of a freshly waxed jacket along with a distinctive soapy aroma.
 
Palate
A slightly drying mouthfeel is followed by some savory notes, like grilled artichoke and ground pepper, along with a suggestion of rye bread. The classic Ardbeg smokiness is subdued, but always in the background, coming across as tar-coated fennel.

 

 

The NFT

 

 

The release of the Ardbeg Fon Fhòid would be by way of 456 NFTs on BlockBar on 19 April 2022. Each token is proof of ownership of a digital version of the Ardbeg Fon Fhòid sold under the ERC-721 standard (Token IDs #930 - #1255). Each virtual bottle would be sold for 1 ETH (currently valued around US$3,000 to 3,200). 

 

 

This virtual Ardbeg can then be traded and redeemed to receive an actual bottle of Ardbeg Fon Fhòid.

 

 

Wait – I’m no crypto expert! How do I get a Fon Fhòid?

But what if you’re new to this whole NFT thingamajig? We’ve got your back.

First, you have to sign up for a crypto wallet from a wallet-provider like Coinbase. 

Next, you have to purchase 1 ETH of cryptocurrency via a cryptocurrency exchange (like Coinbase or Crypto.com).

Then, sign up for a BlockBar account and connect your crypto wallet to it. Add the NFT release date to your calendar to receive a reminder if you’re keen. 

On 19th April 2022, you would then be able to purchase your virtual bottle of Ardbeg from this page.

Once you have made the purchase, your ownership of the virtual bottle would be recorded the Ethereum blockchain ledger. You are then free to re-sell your Ardbeg NFT with another person online, or to redeem your physical bottle come 1 December 2022.

 

 

Our take

After seeing the likes of Ardbeg Fermutation, this bottle on its surface appears to be another one of Dr Lumsden’s very whacky ideas. Maturation has a huge impact on a whisky’s taste, and one really wonders what happens when we seal up these porous wooden casks and leave them to mature within the Islay soil. What is the angel’s share for the Fon Fhòid? Would the lack of evaporation and interaction with the air cause this whisky to taste younger?

But the tasting notes, the interesting experimentation and story are certainly eclipsed by the fact that this bottle would be sold for a crypto coin that is currently valued around US$3,000 to 3,200. 

At the range of US$3000, this has got to be one of the most expensive NAS Ardbegs ever.  

If you’re a true believer of the NFT phenomenon, this appears to be a very exciting opportunity. But if you’re looking to buy to drink, we think the Ardbeg Ardcore, or a vintage Ardbeg is probably more worth your coin and satisfying to the palate.    

 

Cop the Drop or Not Verdict: Not (unless the crypto market crashes and ETH plummets to about US$500) 

 

@charsiucharlie 



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