A few weeks ago Knockdhu Distillery released their first ever AnCnoc peated whiskies to the world with three expressions in the series. All named on peat cutting tools – quite a refreshing change from non-whisky names given to most NAS expressions in the last few years.
The whiskies are bottled at 46%, all non chill-filtered and not coloured (should be mandatory for all whiskies if you ask me!). All were composed from casks laid down between 2004 and 2006, so formal whisky age is ~8 years old although it doesn’t appear on the label but kudos for publicly revealing the age -full disclosure is the way to go and what we customers want – give us the information so we can make a rational decision (or not ;)) if to buy it or leave it on the shelf.
So what’s the difference between the whiskies? The answer: casks profile and phenols levels. Even here, we get something new – the phenols levels are measured at the final product level and not on the malt level which is the usual custom. so low number here is equivalent to higher number as published by other distilleries.
Since it’s a major release, the distillery organized a public twitter tasting themed #LightOnDark which took place few weeks ago. However, some people did receive their samples too late and couldn’t participate in it (yours truly included) so we had a 2nd one earlier this week – a more intimate one but still a blast tasting.
OK, enough talking – let’s get to the tasting notes.
AnCnoc Rutter (46%, 11.0ppm, buy for £51.45 here)
This one is all American oak casks
Nose: Freshness is shining here with spirity and bucketful of cereal and malt notes. vanilla, green apples and pears, bit of heather honey and peat of course where we get here a gentle camping bonfire smoke.
Palate: Peat with ash and charcoal, candied sweets with honeyed vanilla cream icing, wellies mud and smoke all followed with big peppery wave.
Finish: Short length with charcoal, wet wood balanced by candied sweet and the pepper is lingering and warming.
One liner sum: what you smell, is what you get – a well balanced dram fitting for a summer evening preparing barbecue.
AnCnoc Flaughter (46%, 14.8ppm, buy for £51.45 here)
This one is also from American oak casks but higher ppm
Nose: lots of ashes on nose, peat smoke not as crisp and clear, less fruity. peat is more fuzzy, sweetness is more caramelized than sweet honey. some banana as well. after a while, candied marmalade of lemon and orange.
Palate: peat and sweet ripe citrus, some smoke peat and candied citrus. kinda get the bitter hops feeling now. smoke and charcoal. waxiness
Finish: lingering peat, hops bitterness and marmalade, oak, warming with some linseed oil, not so long very good
One liner sum: more complex and need more nosing time as it sneaks some new notes when you don’t pay attention.
AnCnoc Tushkar (46%, 15.0ppm, Exclusive to Swedish market)
This time it’s 1st re-fill bourbon barrels so more active casks had a bigger say on the taste profile.
Nose: Hmm, fruits galore! Peaches and fruits perfume with some caramel, very alive and kicking with much less peat as the fruity notes keeps it in check thanks to the active casks.
Palate: Peat and ash, again fruits even if less than on nose, red wine notes so not as light and fresh as the others, peaches. It’s dry and sweet and if I had to taste it blind I’d guess there’s some sherry casks involved!
Finish: Peat, strong and ongoing sweet dark fruits and oak.
One liner sum: I wanna be a Swedish!
Conclusion: We were asked which one is our favorite one. I must admit it’s hard to choose as I’m going back and forth between Flaughter and Tushkar – they both are excellent whiskies. And even Rutter which lags a bit behind (who was picked as favorite by others) is a rock solid dram. Real good job by Knockdhu Distillery.