About the original question.
Personally, I’m willing to believe Verbatim’s claims. Not because of the gold layer (I believe that gold is used more for marketing purposes than for actual technical advantages… ) but because of the tighter manufacturing norms for these discs, superior polycarbonate and bonding, and an extemely efficient coating (even better than TDK’s own scratch-guard technology).
Considering that standard Verbatim is already very stable media, and is probably gonna last, when properly burt, stored and handled, at least 25 to 30 years (according to accelerated aging tests), the superior manufacturing of the “Archival grade” will certainly bring a very long lifespan.
BTW I received a spindle of these a week ago. Burned 2-3 discs in my Pioneer 112D. As most “gold” or “scratch-resistant” media they don’t show the greatest homemade scans, but real-world performance is, as expected, perfect.