The 2019 Supernova is a non-age statement, (Heavily for Ardbeg) peated Whisky, released to celebrate the time Ardbeg sent a vial of Whisky to the International Space Station for three years (not for the poor ISS crew to drink).
Probably not of alien provenance despite what the label might imply, the 2019 Supernova release is the fifth Supernova release and is Ardbeg's thank you and love letter to its fans who like Peat. A lot.
The 2019 Supernova has been described by Mickey Heads, Ardbegs Distillery Manager as a 'Peat Eruption' and according to Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks at Ardbeg(!), Dr Bill Lumsden 'Supernova is the peatiest expression we produce at Ardbeg. The way the flavours build and build and then explode in a burst of pungent peat and smoke is truly astonishing.'
Not ones to take other peoples words for it we decided to try it for ourselves (with the help of course of the excellent Australian Moet-Hennessy team - Moet Hennessy being the owners of Ardbeg of course).
Ardbeg Supernova 2019 - Scotch Single Malt Whisky - 53.8%
Nose: Moss, old wet driftwood, pine tree branches on a bonfire, golden syrup. With water lavender, lemon zest, black strap licorice and a deeper more savoury smoke like smoked cod.
Palate: Lemon sherbet fizz, tobacco leaves, butter menthols. Savoury notes of oiled cedar, peppermint and a tiny pinch of fresh cracked black peppercorn. The sweetness builds with repeated sipping in lock step with the smoke and savoury notes, in a delicious balancing act.
Amazingly easy sipping considering the ABV and the (purported) level of peating. Another winner for us from Ardbeg.
Theirs (official Ardbeg tasting notes):
Nose: Clouds of pungent aniseed, menthol and eucalyptus are underscored with sweet notes of treacle toffee. Hints of peppermint, a frisson of fennel, and a mysterious camphorous scent in the far distance… With water, more toffee notes emerge with a burst of dry, earthy peat.
Palate: A tingly, peppery mouthfeel leads to a veritable explosion of intense, earthy, smoky notes – a nebular of bonfires, soot, charred oak, birch tar and menthol.
Finish: Unbelievably long, with layers of treacle toffee, aniseed, oak tannin, clove and just a hint of bittersweet, tangy Seville orange on the aftertaste.