Ardbeg Supernova 2010 Review SN2010, like being hit in the mouth!

by Ernie Ayres on March 9, 2011

Ardbeg Supernova – SN2010 – 4 out of 5 Noses

Let me start by saying that I love smoky, peaty Scotch.  I mean LOVE.  Lagavulin, Laphroaig, and Bowmore are three of my favorite scotch brands, if not my favorite three.  Usually, the peatier the better.  Then I was given a bottle of Ardbeg’s Supernova SN2010.  The thanks for this bottle goes to my beautiful wife (and editor), Tori! So… let’s start the Ardbeg Supernova 2010 review.

Ardbeg is known as being one of the peatiest scotch brands.  Being from Islay, it’s hard to not be peaty but Ardbeg takes it to an entirely new level!  Most peaty scotches are going to run around 50 peated parts per million.  Supernova weighs in at 100 ppm.  There are very few scotches that even come close to this, much less eclipse it.

Let  me quote Jim Murray from his Whisky Bible 2010: “This major beast, …isn’t quite a Supernova, much more of a Black Hole.  Because once you get dragged into this one, there really is no escaping!”

Well said.  Even my love of peaty flavor was tested and pushed to the brink  with this bottle.  I got into Scotch drinking because I love cigars but I don’t smoke.  Scotch was a perfect way to get that smoky flavor without smoking.  Makes sense, right?

Enter Supernova.

Here is my amateur review of a top-notch, one of a kind whiskey.

On the front is an image of the redesigned Ardbeg Supernova logo breaking free of the traditional Ardbeg logo.  The celtic frame is nowhere near strong enough to hold back this stuff, so bits and pieces are falling as the “A” bursts through.  The box itself is black and all the wording and design is in gold.

On three side of the box is a very subtle design of what looks to be a star chart connecting all the characteristics of this bold nectar.  The quote I referenced earlier is the side and a roadmap is on the back describing what the Supernova product is as well as some Whiskey Geek stuff if your interested.

The color surprised me when I poured myself a taste.  It is crystal clear and slightly Golden.  My wife says it looks exactly like a semi-precious called citrine.  I was expecting a mahogony color, even a light amber, but the clear golden liquid staring back at me took me by surprise.

The aroma is what one would expect from a company with a rich history and tradition in making the peatiest scotches known.  A woody aroma is prevolant also (sorry, I couldn’t pick out what type of wood so I’m guessing Oak) as was a honey type smell and after smelling and inhaling and re-smelling and re-inhaling, I was able to pick out a slight floral scent.
Adding a splash of water opened it up quite a bit, however, you can still prepare for a peaty slap in the face.

Mama, it burns! After the burning goes away there is a strong peaty/woody flavor that dares you to ignore.  Surprisingly, a nice floral flavor shows up toward the end; quite a nice contrast to the initial bite!
I added a splash of water and it made a big difference.  The burning was slighter and I found the favor building into a crescendo rather than a smack in the mouth all at once.  All of the afore mentioned flavors, peaty, woody, and floral were even more prevalent, maybe due to the burning being slighted.
The finish for both the straight and the water splashed drams were almost identical.  The flavor lingers, and lingers, and lingers.  This is definitely the strongest finish of any whiskey I’ve ever tasted.  Bold, baby.  Bold.

All in all, I love this Scotch.  It’s not my favorite but it is way, way up there.  And at $120.00US, you should expect it to be this unique and special.  This whiskey is an event.  Basically, I’d get a few friends together to drink this, not bring this to a get together that’s already planned.

Ardbeg Supernova 2010 gets a 4 out of 5 noses simply because it is so unique.  Most readers will find this to be too smoky, too peaty, too expensive, too something.  It is an extremists Scotch.  Find a bottle if you can, get “dragged into this one,” and let me know what you think.

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