According to Wikipedia – and, not that we should ever entirely believe it, but I’m going to go with it here – a Supernova is “a stellar explosion that briefly outshines an entire galaxy, radiating as much energy as the Sun is expected to emit over its entire life span, before fading from view over several weeks or months.”
It is, in short, something rather special and something very, well, bright.
Which is why I always find a slight incongruence with Ardbeg’s release of the same name – for special it most certainly is, but bright? Well, due to its super-peatiness, I always think of the Supernova release as something darker, earthier, more weighed down. This is not meant as a negative, merely a note from the sometimes over-analytical brain of Miss Whisky.
But enough of my rambling. All of that aside, the latest release from Ardbeg is – that’s right, you’ve guessed it you clever folks – the Supernova 2014. Or SN2014.
Originally released in 2009, Supernova was meant as the peatiest of peaty Ardbegs. That release was named Scotch Whisky of the Year by Jim Murray, and the 2010 release went down rather well too.
It’s inevitable that, being a special release, this bad boy won’t stay on shelves for long. So, without further adieu, I’ll get to my notes so you can quickly decide if this 55% peaty hit is one you’re going to be investing in. Just make sure you also have a pair of sunglasses nearby in case, unlike me, you find yourself being faced with zippy, hyper-shiny sparks when you open the bottle.
(c): Pale straw
(n): Vanilla bean pods rolled in ash, milk chocolate, burnt orange peel, plasters and rubber boots, brown sugar – so unctuous, it almost feels like it’s sticking to the inside of my nose!
(p): For the strength, it’s not as big of a smack in the face as anticipated. A lovely lemony floral note, followed by a good chilli kick keeps this one interesting. Spice really lingers at the front of the tongue and it’s got a great texture. Bold smoke, black liquorice, brown sugar and rubber.
(f): Treacle and roasted peanuts
In conclusion: I love, love, love the nose on this one – I found I could sit there smelling it for ages. Palate wasn’t as hot as expected but still a big enough beast to satisfy peat-heads. Rubbery and meaty, with a lovely sweetness too. A real pleasure.