Ardbeg Distillery Island of Islay Scotland Whisky from 200 euros and over

Ardbeg Hypernova

Review of the peatest Ardbeg ever

Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Strength: 51%ABV
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon
Chillfiltered: No
Additional coloring: No
Owner: Moet Hennessy
Average price: € 210.00
Official website: www.ardbeg.com
Vote: 87/100

New release for the Ardbeg Committe, the last in 2022, which tries to up the ante on the already highly peated Supernova (released in two editions) by launching into Hyper. This is a supernova (i.e. a stellar explosion) to the nth power, astronomically speaking purely theoretical but which, thanks to the 170ppm of this whisky, can be metaphorically observed in the glass.
The most peated Ardbeg ever (until the next one, of course), for whose raw material the distillery had to rely on non-Islay maltsters, since it seems it wasn’t possible to reach the desired ppm level locally, aged for an unspecified (presumably short) time in ex-Bourbon casks, with the usual côté of grumbles and explosive (appropriately) prices shortly after its release.

Tasting notes

As is often the case with the bombastic promises of über peated spirits, the nose is less acrid and pungent than expected. The peat is declined in its most vegetal and humid form, of bark and mangy leaves soaked in seawater, tied together with rubber bands and passed over crackling charcoal. Sour lemon veins mark a rising wave of nuts and cereals, with brief hints of vanilla in the background, giving a distinct impression of new make that suggests a discreet youthfulness of the distillate. Medicinal puffs also emerge, but in the long run it’s the vegetable and coastal roastiness that prevails, without missing a few touches of crispy bacon.
The palate becomes unexpectedly sweeter, with the entry of pepper and ginger anticipating a fresh, still vegetal body with vanilla and icing sugar quite prominent. Peat is very present, sharper and smokier than on the nose, with toasted liquorice root, nuts, herbs and spices (laurel, juniper, aniseed) without forgetting the coastal and lemony aspiration that always remains in the background. The imberbial cereal tones fade away, but don’t disappear, making vague flashes of coffee and chocolate appear, but it becomes allappant along the length, revealing its unripe soul.
Long finish where the sweet component vanishes rather quickly to leave ample room for ash, dryness and bitter tones, with saline notes closing the circle.

Apart from the hype(rnova), we are in the vicinity of the Octomore-style mega peated whiskies from Bruichladdich, which demonstrate that the ppm number is, indeed, only a number and has no direct correlation with the incisiveness of the smoke in the glass. This is a young whisky that can nevertheless offer richness despite its simplicity, which is remembered in its length without detracting from the overall pleasantness of the dram.

Reviews of Ardbeg whisky

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