Who Is Ardbeg Supernova Actually For??

Supernova

Well, not for me, that’s for sure. An off-the-wall, super young, super peated, undrinkable whisky that retails for over £70? Not a chance I will be buying one. On the other hand, I recently spoke to a guy who already is on his second bottle and claims it’s the best drinking Ardbeg ever. Wow.

What is the trick then? Am I too young for it? Too poor? Too fussy? Too soft? Too urban? Too stupid? Let’s try and find out.

****

Ardbeg Supernova
Islay
58.9% ABV
£73.99 from here

Colour: Vegetable oil.

At this stage I can see genuine fear in Chris’ eyes. He is slightly hangovered from exceeding his daily recommended alcohol unit intake like a pig… but he is still braving through our tasting.

Nose: Not nearly as monstrous as expected but still pretty damn peaty. Smells like summer bonfire ash in the morning after a heavy rain. Less poetic? Wet dog and fried mushrooms. Baked potatoes. Autumn fires in back gardens. Note of nuttiness but also this trademark Ardbeg zesty, lemony scent and a fair bit of creaminess. With water, more like beach bonfire with extra sweetness. Marshmallows perhaps?

Palate: It is almost pointless to describe. If you haven’t tried it, you won’t believe it. It genuinely is like eating spoonfuls of ash. No offensive bitterness. Mouthwatering. Dry and blunt texture which goes perfectly with the flavour.

Finish: Keeps coming with buckets and then lorries of ash. It’s as if all the peat bogs of Islay just burnt down and were now coming back to haunt me. It just never stops, absolutely crazy. I have to check with my finger if my face tongue is still there. When you are reading this, mind it is still going…

Overall: Out of ten, the balance would be zero and the experience would be ten. Totally off-the-wall, abstract whisky. Unchallenged in its category, unbelievable. I thoroughly enjoyed it, yet I hope I won’t have to drink it again any soon.

Person: Pagani Zonda (not really a person but Supernova is not really a whisky) – Gorgeous, but so ridiculously over the top that it is virtually pointless. Art for the sake of art. The form triumphant over the substance.

****

It turns out I am neither too young nor too poor or too fussy. I’m also not too urban, stupid or soft, or so I would like to think. I am simply too down to earth for this cosmic Supernova challenge.

Lucas

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Comments

  1. I’m still to try my Ardbeg Supernova. I was lucky enough to get a couple of the committee bottles.

    I’m looking forward to opening it from the reviews I’ve read. I just need some drinking buddies to help me along with it!

  2. Suspect I’m the guy mentioned who’s on his second bottle. ‘Abstract’ is a good word for it, as is ‘extreme’ and ‘barking’. By itself it’s an oddly dull whisky, but adding a small amount of water opens it up like no other whisky I’ve ever tried – the difference is startling. Without water it’s dull, flat, a bit like eating tar. With a wee drop it *sparkles*.

  3. A “Concept Whisky” perhaps? What it the ppm rating compared with the Octomore? Oh I see: over 100ppm compared to 80-something. Perhaps as a fantasy whisky it is for The Mask, seeing as it’s smokin’.

    Try before you buy or one to keep on the shelf?

  4. Sounds like a whisky that has to be tried. For the experience if nothing else.

  5. Julian Cheal,
    Don’t count on me;P

    James Campbell Andrew,
    You are absolutely right, it does spark up with water.

    Maltjerry,
    A concept? Maybe. A good one? Up to you to decide. I’m not convinced.

  6. I think its great that Ardbeg did this. It makes life more enjoyable when there is crazy stuff to experience.I don’t necessarily think there needs to be a point to these sorts of things.

  7. Water is absolutely critical. It’s virtually undrinkable in its cask state, but adding some water turns it into one of my favorite whiskies of all time.

    Sure, it’s got huge peat, and smoke, but it lacks the brashness that I would expect from such a young Ardbeg… it drinks like a much older dram.

    For me, every sip is mouthwateringly delicious and gives me a small involuntary shudder… you don’t just drink this whisky with your mouth, you drink it with your whole body.

  8. I’ve put my foot down and flat refuse to buy this. £70 for a young whisky is a disgrace. It is pure hype in a bottle.

  9. Well done Mark. I think Ardbeg assume they are untouchable now… because they are, aren’t they? But that doesn’t mean we have to dish out over £70 on their experimental super young bottlings.

  10. Yeah, I blame Bruichladdich for all this.

    :D

  11. I blame them not only for this;)

  12. Yes it is funny…. and looks like a ,“The Long Time Feeling Sexy?”
    Feeling bored, I go to listen Sinead O’Connor – Vampire

  13. Not great, from a place that pre-mothball made some of the finest stuff ever.

    Uigeadail and Airigh Nam Beist are significantly better. Looking forward to trying Corryvreckan some time.

  14. [...] it going to be a love/hate kind of whisky, like Ardbeg Supernova, or a quirky deviation off the range, like the Corryvreckan? One thing is for sure. It ain’t [...]

  15. How long have you had the bottle you’ve been tasting? In my experience, it’s useful to taste an entire bottle to get an idea for the whiskey’s complexity over time before you write a review. You have to admit that it’s unfair to the whisky’s reputation to taste it passingly because you get only a vignette of the whisky’s profile. No idea where you get the loads of ash idea from, it’s one of the most drinkable, complex Ardbegs there is – sweet, citrus, cream, smoke, peat,… the list goes on and no need to add water. I don’t understand your conclusion – how can a drink be not down to earth enough for you – it’s not a person. Is it too experimental for you? I don’t even think you can say that it is, it’s heavily peated – which is what Ardbeg do best. If Ardbeg started making sambucca, that would be experimental. I’m sure that it’s not worth the money to some but that doesn’t mean that it’s just for rich people – you can’t knock it’s quality.

  16. How long have you had the bottle you’ve been tasting? In my experience, it’s useful to taste an entire bottle to get an idea for the whiskey’s complexity over time before you write a review. You have to admit that it’s unfair to the whisky’s reputation to taste it passingly because you get only a vignette of the whisky’s profile. No idea where you get the loads of ash idea from, it’s one of the most drinkable, complex Ardbegs there is – sweet, citrus, cream, smoke, peat,… the list goes on and no need to add water. I don’t understand your conclusion – how can a drink be not down to earth enough for you – it’s not a person. Is it too experimental for you? I don’t even think you can say that it is, it’s heavily peated – which is what Ardbeg do best. If Ardbeg started making sambucca, that would be experimental. I’m sure that it’s not worth the money to some but that doesn’t mean that it’s just for rich people – you can’t knock its quality.

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