Corryvreckan. Yes, an over-the-top Ardbeg. No, I’m not going to tell you something you couldn’t have guessed. Salt from the sea, peat fresh from the earth, and a briny oil to drown it all in. Served with a side of burnt-but-still-quite-tasty-and-doughy biscuits. It was at this point that I got my nose so far into the glass that I inadvertently touched the whisky with the tip of my nose. Such is the draw of the Corryvreckan, luring you at first, and before you know it you are nose-deep in whisky. Dust and a spicy edge as you roil about in the waves of peat, gradually becoming inured to the intensity by the numbing magic of 57.1% Islay alcohol. And then you can start to appreciate the more delicate aspects. Just kidding. Even with semi-submerged taste-buds, there is plenty of Ardbeg intensity to be savored. And even as the peatier notes and the layers of salt and driftwood (and something suspiciously citrus) cease their debauchery and sink with finality into your gullet, a satisfying, oily, dust-of-peat residue coats your mouth with Ardbeg’s uncompromising flavors. –Nate
Category Archives: Ardbeg
Well the much anticipated Ardbeg Supernova 2010 edition finally made it into my hands. There has definitely been a lot of talk about this release. Ardbeg has done well with their marketing lately. Between the original Supernova, Correvrecken, Rollercoaster and now this 2010 release of Supernova they have managed to create quite a stir.
Well, I really enjoyed the 2009 Supernova. You can see my review of that release here. So I was hoping that the 2010 release would live up to its predecessor. There were some changes to the 2010 release including a slight bump in the ABV – from 58.9% to 60.1%. I am not going to go into all of the details of the two releases as there is plenty of information available on other sites.
To make things a little more interesting I decided to do a semi-blind tasting on these two. I wanted to compare them without bringing in the baggage of my preconceived ideas of which one should taste like what. So I found myself staring at two identical classes without knowing which one was which – all I knew was they were both Supernova.
Color – Pale straw
Nose – As expected BIG peat, hints of chocolate, ashes, lemon/lime.
Palate – Again, as expected – peat up front, oak, some ashy-ness, strong alcohol backbone really brings a big punch.
Finish – Did I mention peat? some sweetness at the end and a nice mid-tongue numbness
Color – Pale straw
Nose – Peat, the alcohol seems brighter, sweet, hints of orange, some ash
Palate – A lot of heat, intense, peat and ash, a slight bitter note, oranges again, oak/wood, tongue numbing
Finish – Peat and that slight bitterness, you get the sweetness at the end too, a nasal alcohol burn.
So, which one was which???
Glass one = SN2010
Glass two = SN2009
The main characteristics of Supernova were present in both – big intense peat and alcohol. There were some slight differences between the two. I don’t think I would be able to pick up any difference if I wasn’t trying them back to back. So the following comments are more of splitting hairs than anything else:
The difference to me was that the 2009 seemed more raw and had more rough edges. There was a sense of a greater intensity in the 2009 – but trust me the 2010 is plenty intense.
The 2010 seemed to tame the alcohol better, even though it got the slight bump in ABV over the 2009. There was a better incorporation of the flavors.
So what’s the bottom line for me? I personally preferred the 2009. It is loud and proud of what it is and doesn’t give a d@mn if you don’t like it. Isn’t that kind of the premise of the Supernova?
*Sorry for the crappy cell phone pictures – this was an in prompt to tasting*
It was a long week so I decided to go with something a little more “extravagant” tonight. This bottle originally came in a
couple months ago, but I didn’t take the time to sit down and write some notes. A good friend picked it up in the UK while over there for business – you can see the UK Market label in the pictures. The Supernova is a no age statement whisky – so I am assuming there are some youngin’s in there. It is bottled at 58.9% and is touted as having a peatiness level over 100 ppm.
Color – Gold, champagne
Nose – Peat, smoke, moss, barbecue, intense!
Palate – WOW! Big punch of peat, honeyed sweetness, creamy, mouth coating, the alcohol burn is intense but fits well with this dram, melon, you can definitely tell it has youthful origins, a dark spice,
Finish – long, you can feel/taste the peat drag its feet on the way out.
Intense and Powerful are the adjectives that immediately come to mind here. This is an in your face peat and alcohol bomb. Should be enjoyed with others though I think – the impressions and flavors that it leaves you with must be shared. Reminds me of why I love Islay whiskies so much. I look forward to bringing out the Octomore bottle and having a little peat showdown soon.