Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Malt Mission 2008 #304

An Cnoc 16yo
Speyside Single Malt Whisky
46% abv

An Cnoc? Never heard of it, you say. But this is the name that owners Inver House Distillers give to the single malt of Knockdhu near Huntly so as not to be confused with Diageo's Knockando in, well, Knockando. Never heard of that either? Well, I don't know what to tell you. Buy a book!

The first bottling of An Cnoc appeared in 1993 and was reintroduced in its current packaging ten years later, in 2003. This 16yo is a new addition to the range and was introduced in January 2008. It has matured in 100% ex-bourbon barrels and is un-chillfiltered.


Every type of apple you can think of, wonderfully fruity with a firm oakiness that includes all the vanilla and fudge one might expect from 16 years in american oak.

Chewy and full with citrus, apple juice and vanilla toffee. Slightly excited by the higher abv, and it is noticeable. A eucalyptus impression as well with a medium long finish of oak, lemon, and even a little toothpaste.


Very good clean whisky, as expected from this distillery. Something awakening, something revitalising about it. Rich and complex without the often overpowering element of sherry cask maturation. Should justifiably attract quite a few admirers.

Malt Mission #301
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Malt Mission #303
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Anonymous said...

Don't forget to add this distillery to the index (aka Medicine Cabinet).

Just bought my first bottle of An Cnoc, the 12 y-o. Be interesting to see how my experience matches your tasting notes of the 16. Was wondering just yesterday when you'd get round to this distillery, and today you deliver!

Keep up the good work...

Red Hare said...

I didn't think the 12 yo was anything special - fairly one-dimensional in fact. But I tasted it out of a little sampler bottle.

Doc, do you have any thoughts on whether or not samplers taste different from large bottles?

Dr. Whisky said...

One dimensional? Sure. But the 12 is very affordable and perfectly fine whisky. I have used it for tastings for years and people always enjoy it.

Sample bottles are strange. I have had some nasty ones (see Ballantines Finest post) that could have been 'tainted', but I am not sure that it is a rule that minis are inaccurate representations of their larger brothers. Let the research continue!

Anonymous said...

Logically there shouldn't be any difference in taste between fullsize bottles and minis - unless, as the good Doctor says, the sample bottle has been tainted in some way by not being washed or rinsed properly.

Glass is the safest way to store spirits in their original condition - don't forget that Armagnac and Cognac are frequently decanted from their casks when judged to be fully mature and subsequently stored in large glass demi-johns, often for decades before bottling.

It's definitely safer than stainless steel tanks - I was reading some of the A H Hirsch links from earlier in the blog and there were some people claiming that later batches had picked up a metallic taste from their tanks, which, if true, is very worrying as there are other brands of bourbon that are stored this way with small batches being bottled periodically.

Having said all that, it's also true that very old bottles of whisky do have a certain character and flavour quality of their own that must relate to their age - but whether or not this is down to the fact that they have been in glass is unknowable as there are no 'control' samples that have been stored in anything else.

Apologies for rambling,