Ardbeg Supernova 2009 58.9% NV
|Distilled date||Not Specified|
|Cask Type||Oak Casks|
|Cask Number||Bottle code L9 078|
|Condition||In Original Box|
Tasting notes by Jim Murray, from his Whisky Bible 2011:
Nose: moody, atmospheric; hints and threats; Lynchian in its stark black and white forms, it meandering plot, its dark and at times indecipherable message and meaning.
Taste: At first a wall of friendly phenols but only when you stand back and see the overall picture you can get an idea just how mammoth that wall is; there are intense sugary gristy notes, then this cuts away slightly towards something more mouth-filling smoky but now with a hickory sweetness; a light oil captures the long, rhythmic waves, a pulse almost. Finish: gentle, sweetening cocoa notes evolve while the peat pulses...again...and again. Balance: apparently this was called "Supernova" in tribute of how I once described a very highly peated Ardbeg. This major beast, carrying a phenol level in excess of 100ppm, isn't quite a Supernova ... much more of a Black Hole. Because once you get dragged into this one, there really is no escaping. Whisky Bible 2010: Scotch Whisky of the Year; Second Finest Whisky in the World; 97 points
Serge Valentin (89)
Colour: pale gold.
Nose: it is more peaty, ashy and tarry for sure, with also very big notes of fresh walnuts and various other grassy and earthy notes such as gentian roots, wet earth, fresh mushrooms, moss… Quite some coffee as well. Big, big smoky, ashy and sooty notes that, quite funnily, give it fino-like touches (flor, ‘nose of yellow’).Not exactly ‘extreme’ so far, but most certainly sootier than a regular young Ardbeg and in that sense it’s closer to our benchmark 1974 than the Ar1. With water: now it noses almost exactly like the Ar1, with not much noticeable differences. Maybe added hints of pencil lead/shavings and even more soot. Yes, even deeper into a coal stove ;-).
Mouth (neat): right, there were rather obvious differences on the (undiluted) nose but it’s not the case on the palate, these two whiskies being very similar at this point. This one is maybe just a tad grassier again, but other that that it’s another big, phat, rich, concentrated and extremely liquoricy peat monster. It seems that the extra-45ppm are more noticeable on the nose. With water: all the ‘tarry smokiness’ went to the back and the front has more sweetness, on dried apples again.
Finish: long, ‘oystery’ again but with more pepper, more ‘good’ rubber and more liquorice plus just hints of bitter oranges. Extremely present in the aftertaste, the latter being rather similar to the much older 1974's. “Like if you had swallowed a pair of rubber boots” said a friend the other day about another Islayer.
Comments: well, this IS peatier but it’s not a different planet. Let’s simply quote the famous guitarist Nigel Tufnel (of Spinal Tap fame): “This one goes to eleven - whilst regular Ardbegs may go to ten.” Very excellent young peat monster nonetheless – and I mean it. A little more complexity may have propelled it to 90. Oh, and it's very drinkable!
Words Of Whisky:
So, I try to objectively rate whisky. Not always possible of course, since there is no true objective way of rating whisky, and I'm only human. But objectively, this is a very good peated whisky. Probably pretty close to heaven for real peatheads. But this is not way a whisky I would like to own. I like peat, but only if it's used very subtle. For me personally, this is just too much.
Peaty and fruity, although it shouldn't be a surprise that the peat dominates. It is hard to penetrate the hell of fire and brimstone. I detect some sauerkraut, fresh apples and a salty sea breeze. But the main aroma's are big and bold versions of peat, fire and tar.
Peat, rubber and tar. Slightly salty with some licorice. Very powerful and rich.
Fairly dry and intense with tar and peat smoke.