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Ardbeg Supernova review tomorrow (Wednesday)

February 3rd, 2009

I got a review sample of the new Ardbeg Supernova today. But it is very much winter here in Pennsyvania and my sample was delivered very cold. So, I will let it calm down and return to room temperature before I review it on Wednesday. Expect a posting by early evening, EST. 

4 Responses to “Ardbeg Supernova review tomorrow (Wednesday)”

  1. JC Skinner says:

    Looking forward to it! I’m keen to see what a professional taster thinks of this trend towards super-peating whiskies.

  2. Lucas says:

    One word: ENVY

  3. Gary Gillman says:

    John, I was doing some research on beer. In the course of doing this, I found a 1905 article called The Chemistry of Whisky, by Philip Schidrowitz and Frederick Kaye. It starts at pg. 585 in the attached link:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=wyAAAAAAMAAJ&pg=RA2-PA589&dq=%22stock+bitter+ale%22#PRA2-PA585,M1

    Note the analysis in the table of the secondary constituents in malt whisky. Unfortunately, if I read it right, PPM or other concentration of phenols – not strictly a co-product of ethanol I believe because not produced in fermentation – are not mentioned. So it is not possible I think from this source to get a sense of how peaty the whiskies were then. The authors do discuss some elements in the whisky of a phenolic nature. But they seem concerned mostly to determine if these elements were caused by direct fire (i.e., boiling the wash on direct flame) or by peat in the malt, concluding (correctly I believe) for the latter.

    However, I can’t follow a lot of the science and I thought this piece might be of more interest to you, or others with a science background.

    Note the many pieces of historical information, e.g.:

    – sherry, reused sherry, plain wood and brandy wood were used to mature whisky circa 1900.

    – whisky seems generally to have been sold at 5-8 years old. One sample was 15 years old and this seems to have been considered very old (although I am not clear if the distillers gave a representative age sampling to the scientists).

    – whisky was being aged in different kinds of barrels from the same run, I would think distillers knew that different woods lent different effects as did different environments (e.g., the damp vs. dry warehouse samples)

    – all Highland whisky was peated, some using peat and coke. Only some Lowland whisky dispensed with peated malt.

    – the distilleries in the table are numbered, and I wonder if this was some type of official classification: if so it might be possible to know the names of the distilleries that were analysed, a number of which would still exist today.

    Gary

  4. John Hansell says:

    Great stuff Gary. Thanks for taking the time to post it up here. I am also posting your comment up on the more active Supernova thread. — John

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