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anCnoc suggest two highly aged expressions for the festive season

anConoc suggest two highly aged expressions for Christmas and Hogmanay. Philip Day looks at anCnoc 18 Years Old (2020 Edition) and anCnoc 24 Years Old Highland (Speyside) single malt and provides his own personal tasting notes.

As the Covid 19 national restrictions throughout the four nations of the UK are relaxed briefly to allow small, sensible family gatherings, we are being urged to purchase our festive gifts early and Knockdhu Distillery’s anCnoc brand (pronounced ‘a-nock’) offers two timely suggestions for whisky lovers (or their relatives): anCnoc 18 Years Old and anCnoc 24 Years Old Highland (Speyside) single malt.

Whisky enthusiasts will surely be keen to get their hands on these bottlings since they are certain to be in high demand.

Crafted at Knockdhu Distillery in the small village of Knock, by Huntly in Aberdeenshire, anCnoc’s classic new make spirit of both expressions have been matured in American oak ex-bourbon barrels and Spanish oak ex-sherry casks (18 Years Old) and American oak ex-sherry casks and Spanish oak ex-sherry butts (24 Years Old).

Let’s look at the expressions in detail:

AnCnoc two highly aged expressions

anCnoc 18 Years Old (2020 Edition)

  • Tasting Notes (Supplied by Knockdhu Distillery):
  • Colour: Bronzed amber (natural colour)
  • Nose: Gentle spices and intense sweetness of dried fruits are topped with chocolate, ripe oranges and oiled leather.
  • Taste: Full-bodied and bold, aromatic spices, fruit loaf and candied lemon are followed by a surge of vanilla, honey and caramel.
  • Finish: The finish transforms from peppery and hot to deliciously sweet and smooth.

Personal tasting notes (Official sample kindly provided by Knockdhu Distillery through Burt Greener Communications)

  • Nose: Engagingly sweet notes of toffee and fruity aromas evocative of dried raisins, sultanas and sticky Medjool dates. Bergamot and citrus notes of both Lady and Earl Grey tea leaves with hints of polished wood or leather the background.
  • Taste: Lovely vanilla and honeyed sweetness with hints of dark caramel, honey and chocolate, accompanied by very well-rounded flavours of a rich, softly spiced fruit cake.
  • Finish: Medium to long finish. Enduring warming waves of enticing peppery spices layered between elements of sweet and creamy fruitiness.
  • The very fact that allowing the spirit to fully mature in the ex-Bourbon casks, prior to a further maturation period in first fill Spanish oak, ex-sherry butts has given the spirit time to interact, instilling it with a unique character. In short, the maturation period has created a well-rounded layered classic dram. The peppery warmth and the sweet, spiced fruity notes make it very accessible, at a reasonable price point.
  • ABV: 46%  non-chill-filtered/ 70 cl
  • RRP: around £75
  • Available from reputable independent and specialist retailers both on-line and in shops.

AnCnoc two highly aged expressions

anCnoc 24 Years Old (2020 Edition)

  • Tasting Notes (Supplied by Knockdhu Distillery):
  • Colour: Vintage amber (natural colour)
  • Nose: Densely sweet and spicy with a cosy embrace of Christmas cake.
  • Rich yet crisp with notes of vanilla, set toffee and lemon juice.
  • Taste: Spiciness continues with hints of candied orange slices, warm honey and worn leather filling the mouth with a symphony of maturity.
  • Finish: Rich and intense deliciously sweet and smooth.

Personal tasting notes (Official sample kindly provided by Knockdhu Distillery through Burt Greener Communications)

  • Nose: Think a well soused Christmas or Dundee cake with a liberal amount of fresh vanilla custard and just a hint of lemon. 
  • Taste: Rich, sticky, thick cut marmalade with a stylish, creamy vanilla mouth feel gives way to a zesty, mellow, buttery toffee sweetness, creating a well-rounded, layered dram.
  • Finish: Medium length finish, with enduring waves of sweet and creamy citrus fruitiness and notes of aged leather and oak tannins.
  • The very fact that allowing the spirit to fully mature in the American oak ex-sherry casks, prior to a further maturation period in first fill Spanish oak, ex-sherry butts has given the spirit time to interact, instilling it with a unique character. In short, the maturation period has created a well-rounded layered classic dram. The rich complexity and the sweet, intense, spiced fruity notes make it very accessible, at a reasonable price point.
  • ABV: 46%  non-chill-filtered/ 70cl and 75cl
  • RRP: around £115
  • Available from reputable independent and specialist retailers both on-line and in shops.

To sum up, the lengthy maturation period of both these anCnoc expressions has created a pair of outstanding classic drams, suitable for fans of anCnoc or anyone who wants to attempt something more adventurous than common supermarket whiskies on their journey of whisky discovery but is afraid of paying over the odds.

Note: Both anCnoc 18 Years Old and anCnoc 24 Years Old have been bottled in their most natural form – neither chill-filtered nor coloured, and as a result may develop a light haze with the addition of water or if kept at a cold temperature. This haze is a natural characteristic of whisky that is non chill-filtered.

Knockdhu Distillery:

anCnoc is produced at Knockdhu Distillery, which is located in Knock near Huntly in Aberdeenshire, sitting in the shadow of the ‘Black Hill’ (Gaelic: ‘Knockdhu’). It was established in 1894 by the pioneering John Morrison, after he spotted an abundance of the natural resources needed to make fine malt whisky in the area: pure spring water and plentiful supplies of peat and barley. The site was also chosen for its proximity to the Knock Station on the Banff branch line of the Great North of Scotland Railway (GNSR) between Aberdeen and Elgin.

Today, Knockdhu is known as one of the smallest and most enchanting distilleries in the Scottish Highlands, producing a refreshingly modern single malt whisky while still employing the most traditional skills and processes. The Black Hill continues to supply pure water for the whisky making process. The distillery’s two copper pot stills replicate the original 1894 design, their bulbous bases giving anCnoc its light, fresh, fruity flavour. Old fashioned worm tubs are used to condense the vaporised alcohol.

Taken together, the pure waters, locally malted barley, distillation in traditional copper stills and maturation in American ex-bourbon casks combine to give the whisky its smooth, well-balanced, classic Speyside character. Previously named ‘Knockdhu’ after the distillery, the whisky was renamed under the Gaelic name anCnoc (‘the hill’ in English) in 1994, to avoid confusion with whisky from the Knockando Distillery.

Over the years, Distillery Manager Gordon Bruce, and his team at Knockdhu Distillery have built an extensive range of Speyside Single Malt whiskies, offering a flavour and style to suit all tastes, all of which can be discovered on the distillery website.

Distillery Tours:

The Distillery normally welcomes visitors, however because of Covid-19 restrictions distillery tours are not currently available.

Address: Knockdhu Distillery
Knock
Huntly
Aberdeenshire
AB54 7LJ

Email: visitor.centre@glen-moray.co.uk

Facebook: @ancnocsinglemalt

Twitter: @ancnoc_whisky

Instagram: ancnoc_whisky

Website: https://www.ancnoc.com

Inver House Distillers is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Beverage Holdings Ltd., one of the drinks industry’s most dynamic global businesses. It produces its Scotch whiskies and gin at five distilleries around Scotland: Pulteney, Speyburn, Knockdhu, Balblair and Balmenach. Inver House is also highly active in the warehousing and blending of Scotch whisky, with warehousing for 500,000 barrels and state of the art blending and laboratory facilities at its headquarters in Airdrie. The business has won many prestigious accolades over the years, including the Icons of Whisky Distiller of the Year Award for Scotland (2017).

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