Whisky Review – Ardbeg Supernova 2014

Ardbeg Supernova 2014
55% ABV
Non-chill filtered
Natural colour
~£120 available on 12th September from Ardbeg Embassies.

I missed out on previous Supernova releases so don’t have anything to compare it against, but I am very much looking forward to this new expression from Ardbeg. Recently visited and had a wonderful tour with Jackie. I will be back again, and look out for the write ups of the Islay Adventure…coming very soon. 🙂

Nose.

Big bellowing smoke. Iodine. Medicinal TCP smoke and full fledged bonfire smoke. Quite breath taking. Behind it. And you have to explore, because there’s an inferno going on. There is citrus, lemons peel and sweetened juices. Floral, heather, cloves. Oil, clean engine oil. Light vanilla. Sweet liquorice sticks, pontefract cakes! Sweet cinnamon buns. Touches of road tar. Very phenolic and very complex. Excellent start! Time in the glass and the smoke drifts slightly to show more of those fruity, oily, sweet back notes that are now coming more forward.

Palate.

Exceptionally oily feel on this Whisky. Heat from the ashy coals. Saltiness. Tart citrus. But sweet at the same time. Very sweet and sour in variation. Longer into the development and the sweeter it gets. Truly complex development, lots to explore here. Icing sugar, sweet shops, some pineapple juices, some lemon juices. Salty maritime. Oil. Every time I sip I get a variation and something different a little more forward in the palate than the last time. Considering it’s high strength I am finding this very very easy drinking. It’s very fruity now, gloriously so with the peat reek in the background, but the whiff of smoke forever through the arrival and development. Now it’s dirtier, peatier, earthier. Could spend a long time with this, better try some water before it all evaporates in my mouth!

Finish.

Varying through the finish. Initially on the swallow Lots of fresh sweet grasses and hay. Sweet peat reek. Sweet vanilla. Drying out. Oak, like chewing on the end of a pencil. Sooty ash. Proper filthy in a superb way.

Adding water.

Little splash. The reduced nose now has it’s smoke back, with more tar and saltiness. Sea air glory. Oh. Islay sea air. Miss you….ahem…sorry. Reminiscing. And it was only a week ago. The palate is softer now with some sweeter honey notes, more floral, but then a peat bang still is there in the development. The reek is back, and we’re onto the tropical fruit juices, citrus and sweet grasses again in the finish.

Conclusion.

This is a fabulously smoky and complex Whisky. I would really love to know a bit of the ageing behind it, as it does feel quite old in its base, but probably has a bit of a young high peated content to get all that smokiness in there. It’s bringing back fond memories of barely a week ago visiting Ardbeg, spending some quality time savouring quality drams with the enthusiastic and lovely Jackie. This is a fantastic Whisky. Expensive? Yes, a bit. But if you can afford it, or even if you can just about afford it. Get it anyway. It’s awesome.

Thank you to Ardbeg for providing a review sample

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Whisky Review – The Devil’s Punchbowl Chapter 3 (Isle of Arran)

The Devil’s Punchbowl Chapter 3 (Isle of Arran)
53.4% ABV
Non-chill filtered
Natural colour
~£80 but sold out
Drink by the Dram available at MasterOfMalt

The Tirlogy has come to an end with this last entry in the Devil’s Punchbowl range from Isle of Arran. I’ve loved these whiskies and this final release I have been looking forward to for a while. Let’s get into the Punchbowl for one last dip.

Nose.

Well well, a bit of dry smoke to this one initially. A charred wood smoke, not peat fire, or medicinal, pure smoke from freshly burnt oak. With that we have some salty sea air and burnt toast. Quite malty. Not a lot of fruit at this stage, could do with a drop of water I expect. Some liquorice and/or aniseed. Intriguing stuff. Spice wise it’s all about the smouldering oak. With time, more of the toast and malty biscuit notes are in the mix.

Palate.

Wow! Malty initially, then there’s the fruit, some burnt fruit jams, apricot, plum, over stewed fruits definitely. Maltiness back again, with some of that oak charred influence. Chewy, intensive sugars. Roasted brown caramelised sugar. Lots of fruity tarts with crispy brown sugar topping.

Finish.

Fruit and honey sweetness. Quite intensive sugars, warming down in the chest. Quite easy going for the full strength, and very enjoyable.

Adding water.

I’m going to add and add drops at a time until I get the balance right. The nose now gives off some nuttiness, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts. Some of the burnt fruit jam nature from the palate is now coming through on the nose. Richly intensive, with some added sugar sweetness in the form of icing sugar. The palate is sweeter now, fruits present and less burnt, there is an overall more balanced nature to the palate, still intensive, but added in is some creamy smoothness, the mouthfeel now not so hot with the alcohol is so very smooth and silky. The finish continues this smooth, luxury feel. Beautiful. Water highly recommended, but undiluted this Whisky does have a different profile, so must be experienced in both states.

Conclusion.

The undiluted palate is amazing. Very intensive and fruity despite the misleading (albeit intriguing) nose, very devilish! With water the devil is defeated, and a angelic dram is there to be enjoyed with heavenly vigour. This is a great Whisky. Very enjoyable, intriguing and overall sublime. I’m so glad I got a bottle in as soon as it was available. If you like the profile described above and can get a bottle, jump on it!

Thank you to Isle so Arran for providing a review sample

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Whisky Review – Lochranza Reserve – Isle of Arran

Lochranza Reserve – Isle of Arran
43% ABV
Non-chill filtered
Natural colour
~£25-30 from European supermarkets. Look out for it on your holidays.

Lochranza Reserve is a non-age statement Whisky from Isle of Arran for supply to large retailers, mostly located in the European Union. It’s entry level price at around 25euro in the Netherlands, and I’ve been intrigued to try it since it was announced earlier this year.

Nose.

Light creamy malt. Spirity in nature. Plenty of vanilla. Some apples, a touch of citrus. Confectionary sugar. Runny honey. There’s the tiniest touch of salty air. This is quite a light dram, but still full of interesting stuff.

Palate.

Sweet, lots of varying sugars, honey, toffee apples, malty barley notes. Lots of creamy vanilla.

Finish.

Sweetness all the way through, the toffee and honey flavours go on for a medium finish. Quite chewy and moreish.

Adding water.

A wee dollop of water added. The nose now has an intensified honey/toffee aroma, with a touch of floral honey coming into the mix. Palate wise, we have all that sweetness from before, not overly complex, but the texture and sheer voluptuous flavour of the sugars is so enjoyable. The finish retains sweetness, and now exhibits a little dryness at the end.

Conclusion.

This is a very pleasant, easygoing, drinkable Whisky. I don’t know why it isn’t on the shelves in the uk. Because at a price point of the mid twenties, it would give exceptional value for money.

Thank you to Isle so Arran for providing a review sample

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Whisky Review – Glendronach 18 year old Tawny Port Finish

Glendronach 18 year old Tawny Port Finish
46% ABV
Non-chill filtered
Natural colour
£67.28 from MasterOfMalt

This 18 year old Tawny Port finish from Glendronach is replacing their previously available 15 year old version. I guess it’s worth grabbing a few bottles of the 15 version as it will soon be very hard to find.

Colour.

I don’t normally say much about colour, but this one is quite remarkable, a lovely light copper tinge to this Whisky, not a pinksky like many port matured whiskies, this is more orangesky!

Nose.

Complex red fruits and maltiness. Some struck match. Time in the glass enhances the fruits and a distinctive raspberry/strawberry mix is in the front, with some oranges, rich citrus juices. Quite spicy with pepper, nutmeg and some creamy vanilla hidden in the background.

Palate.

The red berry jammy flavour is well and truly up front. A buttery, thick texture, some vanilla and creaminess. Well defined malty barley notes. The fruit is nicely complex with raspberry, red currents, grape, strawberries all in the palate with some custardy vanilla finishing it off. Quite a summer fruit crumble.

Finish.

The finish retains the fruit and creaminess, is lovely and warming on the chest.

Adding water.

A couple drops added. The nose now has more immediate balance and some added creaminess. The palate is more refined now, and fruitier, with more of a juicy berry up front whilst still retaining the creaminess. Very thick and enjoyable. The finish continues through as before with some lovely creamy texture and an enjoyable warmth. A small drop of water enhances this.

Conclusion.

This dram demands some patience. Initially the nose can be quite harsh, but after a good amount of time in the glass it really calms down and the best of it is there to enjoy. And very enjoyable this Whisky is. It’s not for everyone as a lot of Whisky fans do not like wine maturation, but if you like a port/wine finished fruity Whisky then this is an excellent example.

Thank you to Glendronach for providing a review sample

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