Ardbeg Supernova 2009

by Oliver Klimek on March 20, 2010

General Release – 58.9%

My Tasting Notes:

Color: Straw
Nose: Black forest ham, a mix of tropical fruit, after a while a hint of juniper can be noticed.
Palate: A pangalactic peat explosion is followed by notes of smoked ham, salty fruit , and a little caramel. Can take lots of water.
Finish: Extremely long, peated salty fruit at first, followed by numbness

Score: ??/100 – Price Tag $$$$$ – Value for your Money ?????

Yes, you read right. I honestly don’t know how to rate this whisky. Some components of it are fabulous while others are almost repellent.

The nose is interesting with Ardbeg’s signature Black Forest Ham, but not really sensational, the peat attack on the palate  is too extreme for my taste but soon blends into the sensational early finish. Especially the finish shows this paradox. The first few minutes of the finish would deserve a rating in the high 90s, it is just magnificent. But then the aftertaste transforms into a numbing feeling on the palate that lasts for over an hour. It felt a bit like after an unpleasant visit to the dentist. And this feeling persists although you would rather like to get rid of it.

I think the Supernova was bottled way too young. Right now it is mostly about peat for peat’s sake. But given the fact that the phenols in a peated whisky transform into many other aromatics over time, I hope Ardbeg have had the foresight to set some of the spirit aside and let it mature in cood casks for much longer. Give it twenty more years and it should become a whisky from heaven.

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