Saturday, 9 June 2012

Whisky Discovery #143

anCnoc Peter Arkle NAS (46% abv OB)
Highland Single Malt
circa £48:00 70cl

The limited edition Peter Arkle anCnoc
The last week if May was a very busy whisky week! A five dram Skype tasting on the Tuesday evening, a four dram Tweet Tasting with The English Whisky Co on the Wednesday and this Tweet tasting was on the Thursday.

Hosted by The Edinburgh Whisky Blog and Alembic Tweets I was sent a wee sample of the new limited edition release from the anCnoc distillery. I've not come across anCnoc in my journey so far, so this was the first expression from this distillery, although the 16 year old has been on my list for a while.

Knockdhu, which means 'black hill' was built in 1894 at Knock seven miles from Huntly. Knockdhu is unique in that it was the only distillery to have been entirely built by the old DCL company, and was constructed mainly to supply malt to the Haigs blend which it did until closure in 1983. The distillery was bought in 1988 by Inver House and re-opened the following year. It was only in the early 1990's that the distillery make was bottled as a single under the name of An Cnoc (in order to avoid confusion with Knockando). Independent bottlings from the distillery are sometimes still bottled as Knockdhu though, just to add to the confusion.

Peter Arkle Project

Peter Arkle is a reknowned Scottish illustrator based in New York who has worked with some of the worlds biggest brands (Guinness, Nike, and Starbucks are just a few!) He has developed an exclusive range of limited edition designs for anCnoc, of which this is the first.

While sipping his anCnoc, Peter found himself considering the ingredients: Yes, it’s made from malted barley, spring water (from the nearby Knock Hill), yeast, heat and the passing of a lot of time (ageing in a cask). However there’s another ingredient... something that can’t really be seen: something MAGIC!

If you look carefully, you will see that Peter has captured all these ingredients in his design for this pack. The liquid inside is also very special. Selected by the Distillery Manager, Gordon Bruce, this Limited Edition is matured in Spanish oak sherry butts. Traditionally anCnoc is matured in American wood. This gives the whisky a darker colour and notes of dark spices and dried fruits.

The Tweet Tasting
So what did I think?

Bottled at 46% abv, the whisky is naturally coloured and non chill-filtered. On the nose it was rich and spicy. There was vanilla, butterscotch toffee, a bit of a fruit cake aroma to it, some orange zest, there was a salty note too.

The nose got better the longer it was in the glass, the vanilla started to build and then sweet caramelised bananas, sticky toffee pudding, yum yum yum

It had a lovely mouth feel, honey smoothness with raisins, creamy vanilla, light apple juice then richer fruit, black cherry.

There was a good long peppery, spicy finish to it, a little sweetness, a little saltiness - nicely balanced.

I was really impressed with this first anCnoc and the smell in the glass at end of the evening was very alluring, leaving me wanting some more. I've now ordered myself a bottle to add to my shelf!

Thanks to anCnoc, The Edinburgh Whisky Blog and Alembic Tweets for the sample and hosting the Tweet Tasting, and Royal Mile WhiskiesanCnoc and Alembic Tweets for the images.

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