Single malt whisky - tasting notes

29 May 2009

Ardbeg Supernova

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Ardbeg

A lot has been said about the Ardbeg Supernova. First there was the announcement shortly after the Bruichladdich Octomore. Then there was the Committee sale that ended within 2 hours after its start. Now there is the general ‘Stellar’ release which is still rather short in supply.

As you know, it’s the peatiest Ardbeg to date at over 100 phenolic parts per milion.

Ardbeg SupernovaArdbeg Supernova
(58,9%, OB 2009)

Nose: gristy, tarry peat. Smokier than the Ardbeg 10yo (duh). Very earthy but rather sweet as well. Some lemon. Camomile and heather. Tobacco and espresso. Nice. Mouth: oily, thick and coating. Coal smoke. Again rather grassy. Develops on white pepper and liquorice. Finish: lovely espresso with a little chocolate. Some citrus. A pinch of salt and slight hints of rubber. Endless peat smoke.

A powerful cask-strength Ardbeg. Maybe less extreme than expected and a tad less “experimental” than the Octomore, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Around € 85.

Score: 85/100

Ardbeg Supernova 3.5 Ruben Luyten 2009-05-29
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  • David Hunter

    Where can I purchase Ardbeg Supernova in the U.S.? I live in NYC and even here, it is difficult to track down. Thanks.

  • WhiskyNotes

    Hi David. Park Avenue Liquor has it ($185). Apart from them, Astor Wine & Spirits on Lafayette Street and Morrel & Company on Rockefeller Plaza are the official Ardbeg distributors in NYC.

  • David Hunter

    That was a very speed reply. It is just killing me trying to decide between the Ardbeg Supernova and the Bruichladdich Octomore. The thought ofgoing to the Brandy Library and dropping $100 for a tasting of both, but that kills me too. It could be money used to purchase one these bottles. I am leaning towards the Supernova based on the comparison reviews. Any more thoughts would be helpful. Thanks.

  • WhiskyNotes

    If you like complex peat (mixed with sweet coffee and spices) go for the Supernova. If you just want raw peat (grassy, diesel-like, ashy) choose Octomore. For me, Octomore is something you definitely want to sample but not buy a whole bottle.

  • David Hunter

    Thanks once again for your suggestion. What you said is what I surmised from reading all the reviews. I guess I was just blindly hoping that you could just point the finger at one and make my decision a little less painful. Wishful thinking I suppose. I am a big fan of regular Lagavulin 16 and even Laphroig 10, but I always wish for a scotch that is far peatier. I think both the Supernova and Octomore will fill the bill.

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  • David Hunter

    Well, I found the Supernova at Park Ave Liquor here in NYC. It was very pricey. I think it was U.S. $185. For more professional and thorough reviews, there are many of them around, but as peaty and smoky as the Supernova was, I felt that the it was a bit too harsh and a little too one dimensional for my taste. Contrary to the “peatiest scotch ever made” claim, I did find it very peaty but not much more than say, Lagavulin 16. With that said, I did enjoy it but will I buy again? Probably not. For that price, I would rather have a Lagavulin Special Edition or just pay $40 for Laphroig 10 and call it a day.

  • HP

    I just tasted this at a whisky society here in the Pacific Northwest. This is a great whisky – but I’d never drop $200 for it. I’d happily pay $100, but not much more. I don’t think its the peatiest ever made. The Compass Box Peat Monster had more peat in my opinion.



November 2015
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Coming up

  • Amrut 2009 (cask #2701)
  • Glenlivet 1981 (#9468 for TWE)
  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1933 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.