Feature Tasting – Octomore vs Ardbeg Supernova

ATW’s good-hearted foot soldier and trained palate extraordinaire Maltmonster takes us on a head-to-head battle between the world’s peatiest drams…Bruichladdich’s Octomore and Ardbeg’s Supernova.  This particular collision is between the first release of Octomore (1.1) and Ardbeg’s latest incarnation of Supernova (SN2010).

At some point in the future I’ll put up my own notes for how these stack up.

Anyway…back to the here and now…





Bog People also known as peat freaks, marsh mutants, peatophiles and phenol fanatics exist all around us. They hold normal jobs, eat normal food and they live just like normals, except they have a dirty dark secret.  They are addicted to layers of decaying vegetation called “peat”.  They roast their peat over barley, which they turn into alcohol in order to speed the delivery to their brains.  Most normals have no ideal as to the scope of the problem or the ability to recognize an infected person.

As a self acclaimed expert with months of experience I have no problem in identifying the people of the bog.  Four easy clues to identifying people who suck the bog juice are as follows;

1)  Language.  It’s a dead give away.  They use words like medicinal, tar, iodine, smoky, creosote, bonfire, diesel, reek. Learn these words and know the first warning signs.

2)  Visual.  Look around the house for bottles with  names like Authenticus, Ardbeg, Bowmore, Brora, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Laphroaig, Port Ellen.  Be careful here, they are a tricky bunch and have been known to hide, or as they refer to it “stash”, their bottles.  Check the basement, attic and the garage.  They have also been known in extreme cases to hide their bottles at the neighbor’s.

3)  Leader.  Yes I said leader.  They follow and pay homage to the prophet named James Murray.  Again look around the house for books, and in particular look for a bible which bares the prophet’s name.  At the mere mention of the prophet’s name most bog people will stop whatever they are doing and immediately start chanting “Ardbeg whisky of the year, Ardbeg whisky of the year, Ardbeg whisky of the year”.  Know their leader and it could save your life.

4)  Promised land.  As strong as the need for some birds to head south for the winter, so is the desire for each Bog person to visit their promised land.  Their mystical home land is called “Islay”, which is an island off the coast of Scotland very close to Ireland.  They feel compelled to visit this island at least once in their lifetime.  Anytime the name of the mystical homeland is mentioned their eyes glaze over, drool falls from the mouth and they babble names of distilleries located on this mystical island.

Other warning signs of peat freaks in your midst may be breath smelling of a campfire, saved websites of distilleries on Islay, wills stating their bodies are to be interred on Islay.

Two commonly preferred whiskies drank by bog people are:


60.1 % ABV.      OVER 100 PPM

NOSE:  Strong smoke, farmy.  Lemon and pepper.

TASTE:  Salty, liquorice, some fruit.  Very chewy.

FINISH:  Long and warming.  Little dry.

ASSESSMENT:  Not as assertive as the Octomore and way more balanced with favor.

Ardbeg SN2010


63.5% ABV.   131 PPM

NOSE:  Creosote, Bolivar cigar, smoked oysters…hell maybe a smoked kitchen sink.

TASTE:  Intense smoke, salty and some young vanilla.

FINISH:  Powerful, robust and long.

ASSESSMENT:  Like the taste you get after breaking a bottle on the road and then spending the next hour licking it up.

Bruichladdich Octomore 1.1


Never, never use pepper spray on a peat head as they only enjoy this as additional favoring.  Also never use a stun gun on them as the many years of exposure to peat has left their senses so dull as to render the stun useless.  Never approach a large group of peat heads as they can be very dangerous.  I heard from a creditable Hollywood source that George Romero wrote Dawn Of The Dead after visiting some peat freaks on Islay.                         

If you find yourself trapped with a peat freak please remember the following:  Burn some smoky incense or light a fire which will serve to calm them; tell them you have to go to the store to pick some smoked oysters or smoked salmon to pair with their brew; Once outside phone the police, they are very adept in dealing with these deviants.

– MM

15 thoughts on “Feature Tasting – Octomore vs Ardbeg Supernova

  1. Pingback: 3 Drunken Celts » A PDX Whisky tasting, from a 3DC perspective

  2. Joe

    I made my wife read this and she laughed hysterically as it was me to a T. She now knows I am not alone. My FIRST bottle of scotch was Laphroiag 15. I was doomed from the start.

  3. Robert

    It is very funny, esp the part about licking it up off the asphalt for an hour. Yup, I’d at least think about it. If it was a bottle of Ardbeg 10 #L11 195, I’d be down there lapping it up like a demented dog (it’s that good!). Then I’d suck on the cracks in the road.

  4. Jeff

    For lo, indeed, did I consult The Book of the one called James of the Murrays and, reading the numbers therein, was greatly dismayed. For, poor pilgrim that I am, I have, verily, tried many a whisky not worthy of the name. And yet, when I turned to The Book, I did find that James did title them so, and more, that he did elevate some unto the host of the Exalted Ninety Plus. My mind did whirl, and my eyes did blink and, upon the closing of The Book, did I turn it over and yea, I HAD paid $21.95 in Canadian shekels, and so began the bitter pulling of hair and the gnashing of teeth. I looked again unto The Book in search of the Spirit of Consistency within the numbers of James, but found the Spirit did flee them. I stand now a believer in the Laphroaig, the Lagavulin and the Ardbeg, but outside The Faith of James.

    1. ATW Post author

      So unbelievably brilliantly writ. Well put, Jeff. Neither I nor the Maltmonster could have said it better. This quote will go down in infamy on ATW.

      Cheers for a good laugh and making my night!

      1. Jeff

        Thou art too kind. The missive of this type that, in me, has begot the most mirth is from the gospel according to Scott Feschuk, “A Reading From the Book of Tebow”.

        Sláinte! (and pax vobiscum)

        1. Maltmonster

          I to drink outside the faith of James and consider him a false prophet .

          Sláinte mhaith ( and credo elvem etiam vivere )


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