In order to celebrate the return of the samples sent to space about 3 years ago, Ardbeg chose to release a new version of its now famous and renowned Supernova. The distillery kind of disappointed us these last years, especially with the Galileo and the Ardbog which, wanting too much, became marketing and speculative products rather than good whiskies. Hence it’s full of doubts and apprehension that we opened our Supernova bottle and for the first time plunged our nose into the glass…
Nose : It begins strong from scratch. The peat is powerful, lightly chemical with a turpentine return, distant wood smoke, all while getting vanilla. We’re far from any dryness which makes it instantaneously gourmet. We then have dried fruits (cashew in front) that mix with lemon (between cream and fresh). We then get some window cleaner but also some summer rain scents and finally mussels and smoked papaya hints. The whole thing is very convincing even if the impression of strength and richness tends to shiver with time. A really beautiful nose.
Mouth : We leave on something way more conformist and a bit too rowdy with a strangely buttery peat, lemon but also vegetal tendencies, a good amount of salt and vanilla. From scratch in the second part we get some spices (black pepper then chili) but also a bit of coffee, bananas, caramelized green apples. There is also a menthol background that allows the ensemble to breathe. It is powerful and well integrated alcohol-wise, even if a small water addition should remove and relieve it a bit. The water allows to perceive some smoked papaya and pineapple.
A complex and mastered mouth that fails a bit in its quite common (nearly clumsy) first part.
Finish : We find back the ardbegish rubber that comes along, as often, butter. Just this once, it falls abruptly even if the finish remains correct. The aromatic persistence is pretty good though. The aftertaste is on green apple peel and resilient smoke.