Single malt whisky - tasting notes

04 Mar 2010

Ardbeg Rollercoaster

Posted by: Ruben Luyten In: Ardbeg

We don’t need to repeat that Ardbeg Rollercoaster is a vatting of Ardbeg casks from all years between 1997 and 2006, both bourbon and sherry casks. After some e-commerce troubles on the launch day, 15000 bottles are currently on sale through the Ardbeg website.

 

Ardbeg Supernova Ardbeg Rollercoaster 
(57,3%, OB 2009, Committee release)

Nose: briney and coastal, with notes of smoked sardines with a few drops of lemon. It’s easy to detect the youthful power and the sweet notes that go with it (pear, artificial hints of banana) but there’s enough older stuff in there to get the balance right. A lot of iodine. A few musty elements. Nutmeg and cumin. Mint. Quite industrial in a way. Water brings out vanilla and fragrant notes. Mouth: not the most impressive mouth-feel given its strength, but the big wave of peat smoke is certainly present. The first things I get are signs of its youth which are then overtaken by liquorice, lemon and coal. Gets curiously vegetal and herbal after a while (aniseed, eucalyptus, coriander leaves?). Some very dark chocolate. Water makes it slightly grassier and more rubbery.  Finish: long on chilli peppers and briney smoke. Slightly bitter cloves.

I’m not sure what to think. On the one hand, I’m impressed because the effect of its immature age is well hidden. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem unique at all and it’s probably a bit over-hyped. But hey, Ardbeg fans will love this anyway. Around € 55
(a high price for a 3 year-old, but enough bang for your buck).

Score: 85/100

 

I poured a glass of Ardbeg Supernova and quickly tasted them side-by-side. Supernova shows more peat but more vanilla and camomile at the same time. Still it seems the Rollercoaster is more expressive with its added layer of sweetness, hints of musty earth and more balanced peat. For me, the Rollercoaster has the edge.

What surprises me is that they are so similar despite the different composition. If you could add just one or two casks of 3yo spirit to the Supernova, I’m sure it wouldn’t be far away from the Rollercoaster. The current Ardbeg range is quite narrow if you think about it. How long before they release wine finishes…?

Ardbeg Rollercoaster 3.5 Ruben Luyten 2010-03-04
  • http://whisky.foodnwine.co.il Gal

    Ruben,

    Give the youthful age of this one, i didnt image you’d like it. still 86 is suprising ;)

    sadly, my order is delayed (long story, but in short i recieved the package a week ago, but with a customs claim of more than 100 GBP,which is insane) i had to decline the package and hope that Ardbeg will ship this again using regular mail so the customs issue will be resolved)
    very sad whats going on in Israel when it comes to whisky and customs. tragic.

  • http://www.whiskynotes.be Ruben

    I was a bit surprised as well, because indeed the younger casks help to add complexity and balance to the peat smoke. It’s well made, although in my mind Corryvreckan is still better (I didn’t have a chance to compare them side-by-side).

  • aw

    I’ll stick with the 10.

  • http://www.jewishsinglemaltwhiskysociety.com Joshua (Yossi)

    Very interesting notes Ruben. My bottle came in today but I think I’m going to wait to do a side by side with this, the 10, Corry & beastie…

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  • Thomas W

    You wrote: “If you could add just one or two casks of 3yo spirit to the Supernova, I’m sure it wouldn’t be far away from the Rollercoaster.”

    I just tasted the “new” Supernova 2010. And guess what: This must have been EXACTLY what they did. But the result – sadly – is an overly soapy whisky, tasting too much like asparagus (way more than Rollercoaster, and in a bad way, like the Blasda does). The original Supernova was a lot better.

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  • Tony: Well the 1401 batch 8 could be found easily in most places for £200 - indeed I got one for £180 with a discount. The £225 price was a bit high and
  • WhiskyNotes: Don't just look at the UK - it's not always representative for the rest of the world. The last 1401 for Europe was batch 8. I bought that one for €
  • Sam: Nicely written notes, not rated this myself yet. Just to confirm, it's nowhere near a 40% price rise though. The last 1401 released in the UK was at

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1659 notes by Ruben

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