Whisky Advocate

Ardbeg Supernova: a regular item or just a one-time release?

January 12th, 2010

Strangely enough, the answer to both questions is “no”!

I heard it from a little bird (a very important little bird who knows about these things) that Ardbeg Supernova will most likely be an “occasional” release, depending on suitable stock (i.e., having enough whisky with a peating level that high).

And, since I know you’re going to ask, I might just come out and say it: yes, there WILL be a 2010 release of Ardbeg Supernova. Now, if that isn’t good news for the day, I don’t know what is.

Thank you, little bird. Stop by again soon.

66 Responses to “Ardbeg Supernova: a regular item or just a one-time release?”

  1. Brian Bradley says:

    Thank you!

    That is a load off my mind actually. I very much love Supernova, and it seemed insane to make it such a limited run.

  2. John Hansell says:

    Yeah, this should help all those who are asking themselves the question: “I wonder if I should buy more Supernova because I don’t know if I’ll ever see it again.”

    You’ll probably go out and buy more of the 2009 release anyway. And the 2010 release.

  3. Brian Bradley says:

    “You’ll probably go out and buy more of the 2009 release anyway. And the 2010 release.”

    Ugh, I was just thinking I better buy a few more 2009′s so I can compare the two side by side… So much for cutting back in the new year.

    I am sure there will be a difference in overall flavor. Most begs differ enough in year to catch it when tasting side by side. The Ardbeg 10 L6 to L7 was very different, as the new stock (L8) is further different from those offerings.

  4. Any hints on the pricing? Will it be similarily “progressive”?

  5. John Hansell says:

    Oliver, that little bird flew away too quickly for me to ask. Plus, I think that other birds make that decision, not the one I talked to.

  6. Texas says:

    On a slightly different note, did the price of Ardbeg 10 drop noticeably where you folks live? Here in Houston it has dropped from $60 to $48 over the past few months. Quite surprising, but nice since it fits under my $50 limit for purchases that I make outside of special occasions.

  7. Red_Arremer says:

    Texas, man I thought no one else noticed. I’ve been saying for a while that the industry and particularly Laphroaig should take note of what’s gone on with Ardbeg’s prices over the past three years: low-high-low. Now what does that say? When the prices went up consumers went elsewhere, not withstanding Murray’s hype.

    So I’ll bet you that the new supernova will not be outrageously priced.

    The rub for me is that I like octomore more and its price is so silly that i can’t get near it without laughing.

  8. Texas says:

    Yeah Laphroaig pricing for the 10, 10CS and QC is very good, but I was REAL disappointed and shocked that the price of the new 18 was about double of the old 15..just stupid.

  9. ellie says:

    I definitely noticed a price drop on various Ardbeg bottlings. It is particularly tempting since the Ardbeg holiday rebate is still in play.

  10. Ardbeg Supernova seems to be quite polarising. Many love it, some say it’s too aggressively peaty.

    Either way I’m happy its coming back in 2010 :-)

  11. Brian Bradley says:

    I have noticed that same thing in Florida. It seems that prices drop once a year for a wile so they can move out inventory. This last month saw crashing prices in the Uigeadail and Airdh Nam Beist. I bought a case of Uigeadail at $60 a bottle.

    Texas, I agree the Laph 18 price is nuts. I guess Laphroaig got tired of being the islay “best buy” and wanted to cash in on that boom with a “more exclusive” bottle.

    give it 6 months and I bet that baby will come down out of the clouds to a more reasonable price.

  12. bgulien says:

    Brian, get ANB while it last, because that is the one that’s on the way out.
    I buy the ANB, one of my favorites, when I can. It’s being replaced by the Corryvreckan.
    For a 1992 Ardbeg it’s a steal, but being replaced by a younger for about the same price, is not.

  13. bgulien says:

    BTW, Anybody of the contributors ever did a one-to-one of the Committee Supernova and the Retail Supernova?

  14. Texas says:

    Corryvreckan is going to be what I ask for my birthday. Supernova is way overpriced and I haven’t read glowing reviews.

  15. Brian Bradley says:

    bgulien – In my opinion the novas are the same, not like the Corry’s.

    Texas – honestly if I had my choice, I like the Nova over the Corry.

    The finish on the Corry is too short for my liking.

  16. Pete M says:

    I LOVE Supernova. Savoured slowly without water. Such a huge flavour. I have about a third of a bottle left which I keep to share – and only one small dram at a time!

    Richard Patterson suggested (via Twitter) that I try Springbank’s cask strength offering as an similar alternative.. I did – and recommend that too. My preference was the saltiness of Supernova.. Richard was right about Springbank’s similarity. Much cheaper too!

  17. PeterD says:

    I can only hope the price of the Supernova comes down a bit in my part of the world. The only place it’s available is in NYC at $180 a bottle. No way I can afford that, especially since I’m not entirely sure I’ll enjoy it.

    My Father-in-law gave me a bottle of Octomore for Christmas and I’ve been desperately trying to find a dram of Supernova to do a side-by-side comparison. I found the Octomore almost undrinkable neat, but with filtered water (a wee bit more than I’d dilute cask strength with), it blossomed into a very lovely drink to be sure.

  18. Some Ardbeg and Laphroaig expressions were “on sale” to retailers recently, that might be why you’re seeing a dip.

    I don’t “get” the Laphroaig 18 prices being so high. Just a tad above a “C” note here. Demand, maybe?

  19. Texas says:

    The old 15 was about $65, the new 18 most places is $125. Guess the $48 for the Ardbeg 10 was too good to be true for the long term..oh well I will just stick with Laph 10 for my < $50 peat.

  20. bgulien says:

    I don’t get the high price for the 18 Laphroaig.
    Usually they are reasonably restrained on the price front.
    The Festival Cairdeas bottlings are the most affordable festival bottlings around.
    I think I have to open the 18 to see if it justifies the price.

  21. Paul M says:

    bgulien – Serge at whiskyfun.com did a side-by-side comparison.

  22. bgulien says:

    Paul,

    He rated the 18 2 points above the 15. 92 over 90.
    Still it was 3 years longer in the warehouse, so the price should be a bit higher. I paid 85 Euros for the 18 or $125.
    It’s a bit expensive but not outrageously so.

  23. bgulien,

    Interested to see your take on the 18. I put it lower on the scale than 15, Quarter Cask, Cask Strength, Uigeadail, Curiositas, and Lagavulin DE 1991, but thought it better than the Beist and Lagavulin 16.

  24. Paul M says:

    bgulien,

    I was referring to your comment 13 above ‘one-to-one of the Committee Supernova and the Retail Supernova’

  25. Todd says:

    There is no such thing as too much Ardbeg. And judging from everything else that Ardbeg releases, batch variation is a compelling reason to try the 2009 vs 2010 releases in a HTH. The Supernova Committee release and the 1st US general release were the same vatting, just bottled at different times, while the Committee and the first US general release Corryvreckans were definitely different.

  26. Texas says:

    I was really blown away by the Uigeadail. I like Laphroaig QC much better than Ardbeg 10 at it’s old price (around $60), but I thought the Uigeadail was just amazing stuff. You could mull over the flavors in a glass for a long time.

  27. Peter Benkoczki says:

    Thank you for the informations John!
    Could you ask a little bird about colouring Ardbeg, so is there any caramel in it? :)

  28. B.J. Reed says:

    I am tracking Supernova and Octomore (as most know Octomore II comes out this Spring) and comparing them since I think the intent is very similar – I think we need to do some horizontal tastings of the two and as new batches come out see where all of you on the blog come out on the ” battle of the peat”!!!

  29. Louis says:

    I’d love to know if the 2010 release will have a more forward peat attack than the 2009. As strange as this sounds, the current Supernova is the closest Ardbeg to the legendary G&M 1974 that we’ve had in the US.

  30. BFishback says:

    Louis, interesting comment. I was going to post about how supernova was out of my price range but now maybe it might be worth it.

  31. Scott says:

    It’s funny about the Laphroaig 18, I have a Signatory Cask Strength 18 year old from 1990 that is about 30-40$ cheaper then the 18yr from the distillary.

    *shrug*

    If anything, Ardbeg hasn’t budged in price here in Chicagoland.

  32. Louis says:

    BFishback, I thought that the Supernova was out of my price range also, but I took the plunge. Figured it cetainly wouldn’t suck. This is one dram that it’s worth going for, at least for Ardbeg lovers without lots of those 1972-1975 OMC’s put away.

  33. Amit says:

    Thanks John, that’s great news!

  34. PeteR says:

    Texas,

    I think it’s a local thing. The new 18 here was just a couple bucks higher than the QC (well under $60).

  35. Thanks for the confirmation, John.

    Ardbeg reps were mentioning this at WhiskyFest, that it would come back stateside in 2010.

  36. lawschooldrunk says:

    purchased the uigeadail recently for $52.99. the ardbeg 10 was on sale for $38.99.

    what’s crazy is that the laphroaig 10 is more expensive than the QC and almost as expensive as the 10yo CS!

  37. WolfgangU says:

    Peter Benkoczki, I am pretty sure there is no artificial coloring in any Ardbeg.
    As to peatiness: I am a bit underwhelmed by the Supernova (stellar release), I think the PC7, which I have been comparing side by side, has more up front peat even if its malt has less than half of Supernova’s ppm.

  38. butephoto says:

    Too much money for too young a whisky. Still not buying it.
    :P

  39. Red_Arremer says:

    bgulien, Brian Bradley– ANB is the best deal on middle-aged peated whisky around. With Laph. 15 gone & 18 dumbly priced the only other mainstream offerings are Lagavulin 16 and Talisker 18– neither as good as any of the ANB vintages.

  40. Micah says:

    I haven’t tried the Supernova yet, but I love the Ardbegs. Has anyone tried the range of Very Young, Still Young, Almost There, and Renaissance? I picked up the last one. Only 10 year old but definitely one of my favorite bottles right now. Extremely well balanced (like all Ardbegs).

    I agree that Talisker 18 is a great bottle in this category as well, but is it still available?

  41. Texas says:

    The Spec’s here in Houston did not have the Tali 18 for several months, then 3 or 4 bottles showed up for a few weeks, then those were gone pretty quickly. So it looks like there is a small amount around, but not much.

  42. Texas says:

    Hmm..PeteR..are you sure about that..even the web prices for Laphroaig 18 are well above $100. Binny’s is always cheap and they are selling it for $129.99.

  43. Peter Benkoczki says:

    Wolfgang, thanks, that’s what i suspect too.

  44. lawschooldrunk – where did you get the uggie for $53? That’s pretty amazing.

  45. Tim D says:

    Here in MI, we’ve got LOADS of Tally 18 – at about $70/bottle. I’ve seen 30+ bottles on shelves (and bought one…) over the last month!

    The bottles haven’t landed, but the “state price” on Laph 18 is $69 (same as the 15). So I’d guess the $100+ offerings are simply demand driven (for now…) not distillery driven.

    Ardbeg 10, here in MI, was $68, but dropped to $49 at the end of the year – and Uggy & ANB dropped about $30-$40/each in November.

    Laph 10 is $50, QC is $55, and CS is $60…

    Lagavulin 16 ($85) is priced higher than any of these offerings other than ANB ($89) – which has a nice rebate which puts it closer to mid-$60 for ANB!

  46. John Hansell says:

    Micah @40: I also have the Rennaissance and like it very much. To bad it never made its way to the US.

  47. Red_Arremer says:

    Tim D the different pricing on the Laph. 18′s is not just a matter of demand. I believe it actually wholesales for different amounts in different markets. Not sure what situations result in these deals.

  48. BFishback says:

    lawschooldrunk you’re in DC right? Where did you find that uigeadail?

  49. B.J. Reed says:

    BFishback

    Try Wine Specialist or perhaps Central Liquors

  50. Brian Bradley says:

    Red_Arremer – I totally agree that ANB is the best deal at it’s age for it’s pricepoint; however, I just don’t love it. I bought a case of uigeadail and one extra bottle of ANB when the prices dropped so radically. I just like the younger drams better. I know I am about to take a beatdown on this; however, I like the A-10 (and would score it the same) as the Ardbeg 1975 25 year bottling.

    The old begs lose all the honey in place of some oatmeal chocolate chip cookie taste I just don’t like. No matter how many times I go back to it I just don’t love the ANB. It has a brilliant finish, but over all I find it to have less character then the uigeadail or the 10 for that matter.

  51. lawschooldrunk says:

    @44
    @48

    They are all probably long gone. I purchased three and I know of someone else who purchased four. There weren’t that many to begin with.

    go to montgomery county, Maryland. they don’t ship but it’s worth seeking out their branches. It’s the only county in the US to control its liquor.

  52. Texas, I aggre with you on the price of Laphroaig, the 18 way too high relative to the 15. I think The Peat Monster from Compass Box is a great steal for the price of a good peated scotch, & The Caol Ilas are great also. I am looking forward to trying the trying the Supernova.

  53. If you want a good peated Scotch for a great price: Black Box 10 yr., an absolute steal.

  54. BFIshback says:

    lawschooldrunk, thanks I’m on my way to Montgomery county now. It’s still on special on their website so we’ll see.

  55. DrE says:

    Brian @50 – I’ve also found the ANB to be a bit of a disappointment due to low proof so we’ve been vatting it with cask strength Ardbegs with an eye on preserving the ANB complexity.

    The best vatting so far is a 1:1 ANB to Corryvreckan. Unbelievable and consistently perfect. We’ve dubbed it alternatively the Airgh Nam Vreckan / Corry Nam Beist.

    2 parts ANB to 1 part Uigeadail works well but there’s lots of variations in the Uigedail so you need to experiment a bit to create the perfect UigeaBeast.

  56. Brian Bradley (brian47126) says:

    DrE – I assume this is Dr Entropy from last Thursday’s Plowed Society Meeting.

    You are totally dead on with the ANB & Corry mix. I rate the some of its parts higher then I would give either single bottle. The finish and body is perfect on that “vatting”

  57. John Hansell says:

    Jason @52: yes, we are big fans of The Peat Monster.

  58. lawschooldrunk says:

    Bfishback, did you get any?

  59. Red_Arremer says:

    Jason@52, have you tried the Peat Monster Reserve Magnum? It only seems expensive because of that Magnum bottle. Do the math and you’ll see that if it was in a 750 ml it would only be 60$– And one taste will tell you that that’s a crazy deal!

    I like the regular PM too, but if you can get your hands on the reserve do it!

  60. Ernest says:

    @#3Brian

    Can you give a brief synopisi of the differences you see in the Lf and L7 of the Ardbeg 10 versus the new L8? I just bought several of the L7 A10s up at a NH State Liquor Store but several stores here in the NEast are selling the new L8 of the Ardbeg 10 for $41 which is a great deal around here.

  61. Bfishback says:

    lawschooldrunk,

    I managed to find 1 bottle of Ardbeg 10, I check two stores, for 38.99 and of course if you include the $10 rebate – what a great price.

    Thanks for the tip.

  62. lawschooldrunk says:

    what $10 rebate?

    • ernest adamo says:

      Thanks Brian. I actually asked this same question in yesterday’s chain re; whisky bargains thinking that the Supernova chain was a dead one. Just checking it by chance and came across your reply. Very insightful. I have an L6 and several L7s but not sure I’ll like the L8 as much if the peating levels are down I concur about the balance of honey and peat. When Ardbeg strikes that balance they are tough to beat. Cheers,
      Ernest

  63. brian bradley says:

    60 Ernest – I wanted to say sorry for the time that it took be to get back to you.

    I will start with my favorite expression–L5 was the most ideal. It was perfect spike of peat and honey that had a lovely body that rose up and had an additional spike of peat and honey on the way out. I loved it.
    L6 was very close to these. I am going to skip the bottle numbers as other people are better at that.
    L7 is (to me where things have become quite divergent. The body is lighter and slightly more fruit. The strangest one I has was L7 295. I bought 6 cases of L7 295 and I had 4 different expressions. This is beyond strange.
    L8 is a lighter bottle with more notes of fruit and less peating. It is hard to catch most of this with out going HTH on the bottles. I am sure if you liked an L5 you would still enjoy an L8 and not too much would jump out until you went HTH and then it would be a noticeable and (in my opinion) a little sad… However, I am still going to be drinking the A10.

    I think some of my L7′s were allot like the L8′s. I think you would like what you get with the “new” stuff. I think some of the fruit i first noticed subsided in about a month of breathing.

  64. BFIshback says:

    The North American rebate that Ardbeg is offering. Here is a link, it’s valid to FEB 2 I think.

    http://www.ardbeg.com/sites/default/files/us-christmas-rebate-certificate.pdf

  65. BFIshback says:

    ANB $20 rebate
    Uigeadail $15 rebate
    10 yo $10 rebate

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