The Ardbeg Supernova 2014 Edition

50 ml space cargo mini

[There was great fanfare in the blogosphere over the release of this whisky and the craze amongst mini collectors that predictably followed. This led some prominent whisky bloggers to destroy the minis they were sent–and to do so on video. Ever the followers, we decided that we, too, needed to make a statement against the avarice of collectors who are always out to pay big money for these limited editions sent to bloggers. We recorded our efforts, which we’ve deemed “The Supernova Swag Smash,” though as you can see from the video towards the end of this post, we found the whole experience less than fully satisfying.]

Tasting notes:
    Put your nose near the glass and inhale slowly. If you brace for the peaty hit of an Ardbeg, you  just might miss the super-smoothness on the nose. There’s a well-oiled peat smoke sliding between the fine mesh in the kiln and between the individual grains, barely touching any of it. “Oh, it’s an Ardbeg,” John muses. Yes, it is, but it’s a golden Ardbeg: balanced, pretty, and nice. This is the Ardbeg you want to bring home to meet your parents, despite the fact that it also smells like a forest fire scorching rabbits, elven dells, and Rapunzel’s hair. Finally, there’s a note of lemon spearmint toothpaste on a toothbrush fashioned from an oak twig with an acorn hat fixed to one end (but no acorn).
The mouth carries the lemon spearmint toothpaste theme forward, albeit without great fanfare: imagine a lesser-known olympiad’s torchbearer gliding through Manhattan largely unnoticed (he’s running with two spray paint cans to the Bronx Graffitilympics). The mouth oozes complexity: cut grass on Pebble Beach that was recently traversed by a seal; super-refined sugar dusting an oat and craft seaweed scone on a cedar plank; a hipster’s attempt to market artisanal weeds. Bill bellows, “Bark!” which we take to mean “Yes!” It’s so smooth and light, so beautiful and balanced, we can’t help but agree. Bark, indeed, Bill.
The finish is delicate, delicate: it’s weaving Gwyneth Paltrow’s hair into a microscopic mesh sieve for processing campfire ash into a super-fine face buff. Long on spice, it’s a crackling finish of folded linen napkins. This is what onion could be without the tears and bad breath. It’s unbelievably smooth, savory and sweet for a whisky at 55% abv. This is a dram that could easily achieve escape velocity on its own.



–On the scale of remakes of classics that work really well–
The Ardbeg Supernova 2014 is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo–The original Swedish film (and trilogy) was excellent, but the Hollywood version is, to the minds of many fans of Stieg Larsson’s millennium novels, more faithful to the books and captures something important that the Swedish films seemed to have missed.


The M. I. Supernova Swag Smash


–Our thanks to David Blackmore and Ardbeg for the sample!


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