Origin: Speyside (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing barrels: Ex-Bourbon
Added coloring: No
Owner: Inver House Distillers limited
Average price: € 65.00
Official website: ancnoc.com
One cannot live by peat alone, and if when you speak of smoke and ash your thoughts immediately turn to Islay, the other production areas of Scotland certainly don’t want to be less so, also because it’s not as if peat is only found on that little island…
And so (almost) all Scottish distilleries have at least one version of their whisky with the recognisable peat signature in their portfolio, to satisfy the curiosity of palates that want to taste their favourite spirit in a different guise.
These experiments are not always successful, sometimes the personality of a label is turned upside down by the inclusion of such a strong and incisive element, but sometimes it works.
The stated peat level in this peated version of anCnoc is 40ppm (which, as you should know, in itself doesn’t mean more or less a damn thing), we’ll see if it upsets or enriches Knockdhu’s malt.
Anticipated by several peaty editions produced previously, this is the first permanent entry into their core offering.
Straw yellow in the glass.
On the nose the peat is herbaceous and toasted, with a fresh profile of citrus (orange and lime), Williams pear, hazelnuts, almonds, nutmeg wrapped in a delicate and not at all invasive smoke. Aniseed and black tea provide the background. Over time, the smoke grows in intensity while remaining well integrated into the whole. Captivating.
Just the right amount of pungency at the alcohol level, with a peppery taste that teases the palate, while the smoke becomes more acrid, ruffling the sweeter, fruitier aromas of pears, green apple, hazelnuts and orange. Oily and compact, it expresses a definite saltiness on honey and caramel tones, maintaining the herbaceous tones in the background.
The finish is quite long, of pepper, tobacco, salt, orange, earth and ash.
A whisky that’s a bit indecisive about what it wants to be, with the peatiness suspended between smoke and herbaceous tones that struggle to integrate with the rest of the aromas. All in all, the whole is pleasant, but it’s not very integrated and may not satisfy peat lovers of the opposite school. Personally, I consider it a half successful experiment, very promising especially for the nose.