Supernova 2014

Ardbeg release limited edition Supernova 2014

What Ardbeg say:

Supernova 2014
Supernova 2014

Ardbeg, the iconic Islay malt whisky unveils its third edition of Supernova 2014, a new expression of Ardbeg’s peatiest Single Malt.

The launch of Supernova 2014 coincides with the return of Ardbeg’s pioneering Space experiment. To celebrate this ground-breaking journey, the distillery will release the Single Malt fittingly named after a super bright explosion of a star.

A vial of Ardbeg spirit has been orbiting the globe in the International Space Station for the last three years in a mission to decipher the impact gravity has on maturation. The vial will re-enter the earth’s atmosphere on 12th September, travelling back in the Soyuz-U Rocket and will land in Kazakhstan. The sample will then be taken to Houston, Texas to be reunited with the test sample from Ardbeg’s warehouse #3 to begin the analysis in the first study of its kind.

The full research findings will be published in 2015 and could prove revolutionary. Dr Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s Director of Distilling and Whisky Creation, will lead the research, working alongside US-based space research company NanoRacks LLC. Dr Lumsden states “We are now close to the end, close to finding answers to something previously unknown, which is truly exciting.”

Previous editions of Supernova have been described as “out of this world” and Supernova 2014 looks set to follow this form. It is bottled at 55% ABV, and will be available from 12th September 2014 from Ardbeg Embassies* and on Moët Hennessy Selection with a RSP of £124.99.

What we say

Any Ardbeg release is controversial, this one is set to be no different, either way we are looking forward to trying this, and the geek in us is interested in the space project findings.



First up on the nose for me is a massive farmyard note, I’m not talking all lamb’s breath and hay, more, well… fertiliser.  There is that touch of decay, or compost if you would rather, before the citrus notes come in and lift the nose.  The lemons are waxy, the limes freshly squeezed, and there is wax seal on parchment paper.  The smoke is there swirling away in the background, the peat is there but it’s faint, there is a salty tang which brings a freshness and really lifts the nose, but you have to wait to find it.


So it smells like a farm and kicks like a donkey!  The heat is there, a hard, hot, kick to the ribs, but before you can react, it becomes a lovely soothing warmth in your chest.  There are peppercorns aplenty, which bring a constant dry spiciness, almost like a hickory dry rub, but just as you think that’s all you are getting, some welcome calming vanilla waltzes in, vanilla essence rather than just split pod, with a butterscotch edge.  The smoke is constantly swirling around your mouth helping the flavours constantly evolve.


Ok, well it’s not as long as I thought it might be, but it doesn’t just disappear.  Without the smoke, this would be lost but the smoke is the one thing that clings and then carries this dram on.

Overall thoughts:

It’s undoubtedly Ardbeg, is it a good Ardbeg?  Well for me it’s good enough.  I think it’s pretty pricey for what it is however, and that’s got nothing to do with the fact it’s NAS.  If you want to try it, go for it, it’s not bad, if you expect something amazing though, you may feel slightly short changed.



First hit is of a young mescal, citrus notes flood through, and it’s like a clean fresh breeze almost like someone making lemonade two doors down.  Surprisingly there is not much peat around, it is there faintly at the back along with milk chocolate covered wood shavings.


Strong Ardbeg hit.  The peat smacks you in the face straight away before calming down and morphing into a more relaxed version of itself.  The citrus is still there, as is a bit of fire, but not as much as the 55% ABV would suggest.  Some spice dances on your tongue, before a final touch of smoke brings the dram to a conclusion.


Where did it go?  All singing, all dancing in the mouth for the first five seconds and then nothing except a small smoky aftertaste.

Overall Thoughts:

This dram arrives in your mouth with all the fervour of an excitable party guest, but unfortunately leaves shortly afterwards with its tail between its legs.  It’s definitely an Ardbeg and it’s a fair to middling dram, however it’s not £124.99, it tastes young, and after the promise of Auriverdes this seems to be Ardbeg slipping back to its gimmicky ways.  For the money there are a lot of better drams out there.  My opinion: pick one of those instead.

With a big thanks to Ardbeg for the official sample.

Don’t forget as mentioned, Supernova 2014 is released 12th September 2014 from Ardbeg Embassies* and on Moët Hennessy Selection with a RSP of £124.99!

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