Review: Ardbeg Supernova 2015

let’s begin

Found on the Whisky famous island of Islay is Ardbeg Distillery.

The distillery behind Ardbeg Supernova 2015 has been here since 1798 and has been commercially producing some of the peatiest drams about since 1815.

While a lot of distilleries see their drams going all across the globe and reaching some pretty far off and exotic places, none has gone as far as Ardbeg.

The story behind Ardbeg Supernova, the whisky matured in space

In 2011, Ardbeg decided to reach for the stars, literally.

They sent some “Ardbeg-crafted molecules” to mature in outer space aboard the International Space Station.

Alongside some finely charred oak, the molecules orbited the earth at 17,227 miles per hour, 15 times a day.  If you’ve ever tried to orbit anything at that speed you might find yourself a little dizzy.

But the Ardbeg molecules survived and returned from space on the 12th of September 2014.  Landing in Kazakhstan, they were quickly taken to a lab in Houston to be tested and compared to similar molecules matured while firmly planted on the ground, or in Ardbeg’s Warehouse 3.

Since then the results have been released and, as much as I would like to indulge and explain what exactly the difference between the two vials ended up being, science really isn’t my thing.

Rather, you would be better heading over the to explore the results yourself.

This has been an exciting moment in the life of a well known and respected distillery and in celebration, they released Ardbeg Supernova 2014 and more recently, Ardbeg Supernova 2015.

Ardbeg Supernova 2015 was launched on the 12th September last year and is the final instalment of the Supernova range.  It is also the peatiest scotch from Ardbeg, ever.  Standing at 100PPm (the measurement for peatiness) this is well over the Ardbeg usual of 55PPm.  So strap in and discover the most smoke leaden and a peat filled dram of your life.

Ardbeg Supernova 2015 tasting notes

The nose gives us all a sense of what life was like for the common chimney sweep a hundred years ago.  It is filled with smoke and soot but still gives way to some great banana and apples sweetness underneath.

There is also a delicate hint of dark chocolate and a rich nuttiness.  There are also the telltale Ardbeg qualities of seaweed and brine, taking this dram back to its coastal beginnings.

From here we can only really go in one direction: Peat.  The palate is brimming over with fiery peat that tastes like an explosion in your mouth.

Underneath the soft wafts of smoke comes a peppery spice that combines immaculately with the seaside saltiness.  There is also a subtle sweetness, filled with burnt caramel and more dark chocolate, coating ripe apples and pears.

The spiciness is a great taste and gives an extra kick to the tangy smoke.  There is also a slight medicinal quality to the dram that rounds the flavours up well.

The spice of the palate lingers in the finish with the breezes of smoke coming through at all times.

The finish is long lasting and will definitely entice you to have more than one dram.

This is an exciting release from Ardbeg, not just as a celebration of their accomplishments in space, but also just as a really great instalment to their range.

If you can manage to get your hands on a bottle, this is a peated dram worth trying and at the risk of sounding too punny, the taste is really out of this world!

Tags: Ardbeg SupernovaArdbeg Supernova 2015ArdbergArdberg DistilleryIslayWhisky


My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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