Ardbeg is known for an experiment or two. From sending whisky molecules into space to pushing the boundaries of peat in whisky, the folks over at Ardbeg are determined this distillery will not disappear anytime soon!
Their Supernova releases are intended to be the peatiest Ardbeg ever… Now with 5 editions, the 2014 avatar currently retails for over $400.
Thanks to the Winnipeg Cabinet lads, I not only enjoyed a fabulous “peat” evening, I also walked out with a wee dram of this Ardbeg Supernova! (Pssst – you can read their review here which featured a new & old 10 year Ardbeg, Supernova & Amrut.)
This puppy cranks the peat up from 55 ppm to 100 ppm, so without even opening or taking a whiff, I knew this was going to have serious peat.
Ardbeg Supernova 55%
- Nose – As expected – powerful peat! Carbon. Yet also decidedly sweet, pine, minty herbal element, a whack of spice, zing of citrus, bit briney… yet never loosing that charred pettiness
- Palate – Peat, char, burn, crazy bitter chocolate, dark cherry, you could chomp and chew on this one!
- Finish – Long, bitter and dry ash…. those peaty fires kept smouldering
- Water – Had to try… a bit more accessible yet still…
This is no shy retiring young miss. No siree! As promised, it is big, bold and full-on peat. While it is quite assertive, it isn’t harsh – a plus point.
However I found myself reaching out for a dry cracker and gave it some time.
More importantly, as a whisky, did it work?
Hmm… While interesting, the elements simply did not come together for me. Even with a few drops of water, there was something just a wee bit off-balance about this one.
It is a novelty item not an every day dram. While I’m glad I had a chance to try it (and not pay for it), I honestly would reach for other peaty drams before this one.
Here’s what the folks at Ardbeg have to say (from Whisky Exchange website):
- Aroma: Intense zestiness of smoked lemons and pears, lemongrass and pine needles, embedded in a deep, resinuous, sticky waxy base.
- Taste: Distinctively peppery, spicy and electric. Powerful peppermint, antiseptic lozenges and other familiar, medicinal tones. Dark, dark birch tar intermingles with spicy-sweet chilli flavoured chocolate, while the entire mouth and palate are coated in luscious linseed oil.
- Finish: Rich flavours of tar, creosote, briar wood, spicy tobacco and liquorice root.
PS I recently pulled out the last few drops of the Ardbeg Supernova next to Bruichladdich’s Octomore with a peaty lady asking which she would like to help me polish off. Without hesitation she went straight to the Octomore – which has even higher peat levels than the Supernova yet better balance and somehow more accessible and hence also enjoyable.
Other Ardbeg‘s sampled include:
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