1. Ardbeg SuperNova 2010 60.1% (L10 070)
Anoraks can discuss peat ppm values forever, something that started around when Bruichladdich decided to got all-inn with peat in barleys and produced Octomore (80ppm) and later Octomore with even more peat. Some claims that there is a theoretical limit below these values for peat content.
Here's a few things about ppm, peat and whisky :
ppm stands for parts per million and is measure to describe small contents of whatever... When it comes to peat its the phenol contents, as phenols gives malt whisky its peated/smoky taste.
ppm values given are for the content in the barley. The ppm value actually diminish in distillation, so even though Ardbeg uses the most peated barley for their standard produce, the newmake of Laphroaig has a higher ppm value than the ppm value for Ardbeg new make. Phenols must be breaking down when a whisky mature, as the ppm value goes down as whisky mature in the cask as well. This is no exact science and sometimes you get old whisky that are surprisingly peaty
The ppm value for this Ardbeg supernova is given on the bottle as 100ppm, opposed to the standard 50-60ppm for Ardbeg. I am not sure how much difference this will give in the newmake, but the fact that this is younger than the Ardbeg 10 will add to the relative peat difference as will the fact that this is cask strength
Now back to the whisky : The first thing I note is that this doesnt actually seem to be that peaty. I don't get the chok-effect that Ballechin gave me (heavily peated Edradour)
This doesn't have the sweetness I got in SN2009, I find it a lot more one-dimensional (actually described as a deeper, earthier character on the bottle compared to SN2009, In which I agree)
My comments : Dry, peaty, newmake - I prefer the SN2009
2. Ardbeg Rollercoaster 57.3 (L9 344)
I've been a member of the Ardbeg committee since around it started (I think I got number 389). In the early days I had pleasure of acquiring almost all of their releases, but the bottlings out the last years hasn't been the same (everything was much better in the good ole' days). Legends like the 23yo-ish sherry casked Ardbegs, Kildalton, 21yo, early 70's single casks etc. are now in my collection of empty ardbeg bottles. Recent bottlings has also been a heavy lift in prices unfortunately. Guess we shoulkd't have told everybody how good Ardbeg is 10 years ago ?.
The Rollercoaster is a bottling to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of the Ardbeg Committee. Its a vatting of casks distilled every year from 1997 to 2006, making this a 3yo technically. Young Islays has become a catagory of its own the last decade. It's very popular, the world is full of peatjunkies. So offcourse every distillery and every IB is having something in this catagory.
Ardbeg probably had the most, but this is more to the fact they only distilled regularely since 1997 so their main stock has been young whisky
This is one of the best young Islays I had, far better than any of the AVY, VYA, Still Young, Almost There etc., seems like they kept their best casks!
My comments : citrus, peat, complex (I need that T-shirt), the different cask vintages in here works together like a rollercoaster
Note : SN2010 is 80£, Rollercoaster 50£. These are high prices, a lot of people refuses to pay 50£ for a "3yo", but I think the whisky got the quality to justify this is bit. I find it lot better than the SN so in the Ardbeg catagory it's good quality for money!
3. Bruichladdich : Port Charlotte Cuairt Beatha PC6 61.6%
Finished in Madeira Casks
First impression is that this is a slight sourness, which lessens as you take the first sips. Still very detectable in the nose unfortunately. This seems quite fierce, and I do admit I often have problems with finishes. This is no exception. I don't find that the peat and the madeira works together here.
4. Brora - Old Malt Cask cask 2294 50% 23yo Nov. 1982
First I'd like to point out that if you look for peated in a Brora, go for something distilled in the early-mid 70's. But the lack of peat in this won't let me take it of todays vertical. This is from a sherry cask, but it isn't overpowering. But the nose and palate doesn't lie. It's woody in the good sweet way I often see, and absolute adore, in old Brora's and Clynelish', is it the mix of this and peat that make 70's Brora's outstanding ?. The nose is a delightful sweet spicy mix with a big flowery/honey touch. The palate is sweet, prickly, and sherry-woody
My comments : sweet, sherry, prickly, flowers, spicy
5. Glen Keith 33yo old 1971 Lorne MacKillop D&M Aficionados' Club 43%
Glen Keith is the neighbour of Strathisla in Keith, and has been silent since 1999, functioning today as filling store and technical center. This is a sample of an american bottling I got from plowed-exile Rodger Howard.
This is surprising me with its peat!, not something you expect from a Glen Keith. I also find citrus in this one. A lot, this is probably one of the most citrus-lemon whiskies I had. Which is good, cause I like that. It reminds me Ardbegs the same age and vintage. The intensity is high so I suspect not much or no water at all has been added to reach the 43 ABV. This is pure joy to me
Edit summer 2011: I am pretty sure the sample bottle was contaminated as when I tasted this directly from the bottle there was no peatyness AT ALL, fact is that I tasted something else and I don't know what and I wonder if Rodger does :-)
Real Rating 82