With a new Supernova release in the offing, I finally decided to open my bottle of the Supernova 2015 committee release that I had bought at the distillery in October 2015. It was launched to celebrate the conclusion of Ardbeg’s experiment of sending some maturing spirit into space, on board the International Space Station. In a 2015 interview with whiskycast, Dr. Bill Lumsden was asked about the taste differences of the spirit after it had been returned to earth. “The control sample, somewhat unsurprisingly, reminded us of Ardbeg”, he replied... Anyway, this is a blend of 9% ex-Sherry casks and 91% ex-Bourbon casks, peated at 100ppm.
The nose is quite sooty and “fat”, coming with lots of linseed oil. As was to expected there is plenty of peat, followed by vanilla and smoked ham. Some salt and brine, too, and a bit of sawdust.
The palate is medium-bodied and spicy, as well as smoky and peaty. Next, lemon flavours take centre stage, providing a rather sweet contrast to the peat and smoke. Later on, there are notes of vanilla and coffee.
The finish is long, warming and dry. The lemon flavours are back, together with smoked ham and some chocolate notes.
In my view this is a solid, complex and hugely enjoyable Ardbeg. The only other Supernova release I had the opportunity to try was the 2010 edition and upon rereading my notes (from 2012) it appears that I enjoyed that one about the same. Supernova is my kind of whisky: it is bold, peaty and sweet at the same time - quite simply terrific stuff!