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Ardbeg Supernova

Explosive Islay malt

0 1090

@TheMueReview by @TheMue

3rd Oct 2009

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Overall
    90

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

The Ardbeg Supernova is a complex and crackling explosion. The nose shows tar and nuts, but also honey and orange. Vinegar and pepper makes it more complex.

The body contains lot of peat. It is explosive, it crackles, once again with nuts, salt, and pepper.

The palate is long and once again complex. It feels warm and comfortable. So all in all the Ardbeg Supernova is the right stuff for a long, cold, and dark winter evening.

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10 comments

@JohnoftheYard
JohnoftheYard commented

I'm well pleased someone else has reviewed this whisky and your timing is superb as I recently, along with two discerning friends, tasted this nonsense again.

Where do you find these flavours? Honey? Orange? Really? Once again all I got was my head blown off with explosion of chilli and smoke. My two friends, one of whom enjoys Islay whiskies over all others, found that even with the addition of 50% water this whisky was very poor indeed.

During the night we drank Lagavulin, a whisky that takes no prisoners so I don't think any of us could be accused of not being able to handle the power of Ardbeg.

Sorry if you think this sounds harsh but I'm on a truth mission and think too many people read the bollocks written on the advertising for this and it works to put these smells and tastes in the drinkers head, rather than in the mouth.

The Captain.

10 years ago 0

@TheMue
TheMue commented

Hmm, an interesting role, a kind of policeman for the one and only world wide for everyone applicable whisky taste. Astonishing. But no needless flame wars here.

Even if I'm drinking malts now for more than 20 years it became my passion during the last 8 or 9 years. Since then my own collection growed and I've been able to taste maybe around 100 malts in private and at the spring and autumn tastings at a local dealer. Meanwhile I'm also one of the volunteering helpers behind the bars.

Don't worry, I don't write this to impress anybody, but only to make my personal - and that's the important fact - preferences understandable. I still like Speysides, for me especially the Glenfiddich 21y Havanna Reserve and the Glenrothes 1991 (here I would like to taste one of the older ones, but still had no chance). But my overall favorites are Islays in Cask Strength and without water. Don't know why, but for me very often adding water doesn't make it better - or as you told above - even worse. And yes, I've also got a Lagavulin 12y Cask Strength in my collection. I like it very much and it would get an almost similar rating. But it's still a different taste.

So, my only wish is, that everyone accepts that tastes are really personnel. There's no reason for a crusade against malts like the Ardbeg Supernova (by the way, I've also got the Uigeadail, which I even rate better than the Supernova; I've got to add all my tasting notes over the time here). It's very intense, yes, but I already had heavier ones.

Slàinte Mhath

mue

10 years ago 0

@galg
galg commented

indeed it's a cracking dram, much better than it's counterpart from the Laddie (Octomore). i need to get me some of this nectar ASAP

10 years ago 0

@jeanluc
jeanluc commented

@JohnoftheYard - I haven't tried Ardbeg Supernova, but I don't think its unreasonable to suggest that they might have overdone it on this occasion.

There is clearly a lot of brand and marketing hype about this product; it is, in turn, stoked by a prevailing macho thirst for peatier and peatier whiskies amongst a lot of whisky drinkers.

While those two things remain, distillers like Ardbeg are always going to be vying for the mantle of 'Peatiest', 'Smokiest', 'Most Powerful' Islay. And I think they are going to keep pushing the boundaries, perhaps to an almost absurd point? In my opinion there is a fine line between a classic charismatic peaty Whisky and an over smoked, over peated assault on the senses.

But like I say, I've not tried Supernova.

@TheMue - I think we do all accept that tastes are personal and we definitely respect your opinions here - but its also interesting to probe deeper into these insights.

Thanks for the review.

10 years ago 0

DukeofSturg commented

I would like to read a run down of those malts that characterize the peatiness and smokiness flavors.

Maybe a "master's course" in tasting along certain flavor categories. Admittedly, I'm new to Whisky so forgive me if a well respected "run down" exists else where.

10 years ago 0

@JohnoftheYard
JohnoftheYard commented

I have a problem with any company which releases products of any kind with a gimmick attached, which this most certainly is, and all this limited edition stuff, for which Ardbeg seem to have a knack at churning out all the time. Is this a good way to make whisky or a good way to make money?

The Supernova is totally marketed at collectors rather than drinkers, This drink, along with the Laddie which has been mentioned above, is a "look at what we can do" dram nothing more nothing less and the sheer power of the drink totally ruins the over all experience I expect from Ardbeg.

10 years ago 0

@TheMue
TheMue commented

In my case I'm not interested in any marketing gimmicks or simmilar. I'm just interested in malts for my taste. Nobody is forced to buy the Ardbeg Supernova like nobody is forced to buy any other malt. So just respect that there are people in the world liking this malt. And if there are problems with marketing just talk directly to the destillery.

10 years ago 0

@JohnoftheYard
JohnoftheYard commented

You're missing my point on this I feel, It's irrelevant whether you like this whisky or not, the fact is more and more "big name" distilleries are abusing, yes abusing, their fans by churning out limited editions and therefore forcing collectors to part with their money.

I also have no problems with people liking this malt, what I'm saying is that there are no subtle flavours going on here, no back notes, no real finish of any character. Oh and incidentally some people drink meths doesn't make it a right.

10 years ago 0

@TheMue
TheMue commented

I understand your point. But still whisky is something to drink, not to collect as a fan of a distillerie. So if it's limited and expensive don't buy it. This will regulate the market through missing demand.

What puzzles me is how you simply can claim that nobody tastes subtle flavours so absolutely? How about newbies who taste their first Laphroaig, Port Ellen, Caol Ila, or Ardbeg? When we do our tastings we always hear from those first time Islay tasters that there are no subtle flavours compared to their usual Speyside malts. And that's OK based on their experience.

So, what's the result now? You've got your point of view, I've got mine. And both may be right, who cares. smile Most important is that we both, and all others here, enjoy their malts.

Slàinte Mhath

mue

10 years ago 0

bascho commented

I am a big fan of Islay whiskies in general and Ardbeg in particular, but that doesn't mean that I love everything that they produce. While the Uigedahl, the 10 y.o., the Coryvrekken (sp.) and many other bottlings are superb, even Ardbeg can produce an occasional clunker. The 17 y.o. that was on the market about ten years ago was one. And the Supernova is another. The Supernova is so heavily peated that it loses the balance of the 10 y.o. and the depth of the Uigedahl. It has an overwhelming taste of wet ashes, like a campfire that has been put out with a bucket of water. The peatiness is so high, even after adding water, that it coats the inside of the mouth for hours and literally prevents you from tasting anything else. Interesting to try once, but that is all. I'd rather use the same money to buy 2 of the 10 y.o. or an Uigedahl and a nice bottle of bourbon.

10 years ago 0

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