anCnoc (meaning ‘the hill’ in Gaelic) are one of those Highland whiskies that are keeping their production methods traditional, but are also appealing to the modern age in a time that can be hard to establish yourselves amongst your competitors. The location of the anCnoc distillery itself sets it apart from most of the other Highland brands with its Knockdhu distillery situated in the village of Knock in Aberdeenshire and surrounded by natural resources. It was here that a gentleman named John Morrison, in 1892, bought the Knock estate which held land that was heavily peated and full of barley. A little later, springs of pure water were found on Knock hill and the application to build a distillery was sent to The Distillers Company of Edinburgh, eventually opening its doors in October 1894.
Although being open for over 100 years (although it was closed during the depression and World War Two), the methods used in the production of the anCnoc range have rarely changed. The original copper pot stills are still used, as are the worms used to condense the vaporised alcohol (something which is rarely used these days). Ex bourbon or sherry casks are used by Distillery Manager Gordon Bruce to age the anCnoc whisky and stored for maturation in dunnage warehouses. These warehouses are built using thick granite walls that create a stable temperature which helps with consistency over the years.
I’ve been lucky enough to try out two of the expressions that anCnoc release, and below are my tasting notes –
anCnoc 12yr – 40%
Light on the nose with hints of salt and herbal notes blending slowly. A lighter beginning on the palate, with lots of sweet fruit with a dash of salt nearing the end. Creates a long, smooth finish with a slight bitter end.
anCnoc 16yr – 46%
Smooth on the nose with a slight mix of citrus, smoke and heather. Again smooth once it hits the palate, and rather light with a slight kick once it hits the throat. A citrus finish with a hint of spice on the long finish.
Other releases include their oldest offering of 35yr and the limited edition 1998 vintage. Awards are also a staple of the anCnoc range,winning gold two years in a row at the International World Spirit Competition (2010 & 2011) and double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (2011).
One quality that anCnoc have is the capability of being versatile to mix with other ingredients, as well as being a hallmark to have straight or on the rocks. Ask your local bartender to create you this –
50ml anCnoc 12-year-old
25ml sweet vermouth
75ml Red Grape Juice
1 dash angostura aromatic bitters
Orange twist and red grapes
Stir the ingredients lightly in ice-filled Boston glass and strain in an ice-filled tall glass. Serve with pressed red grape juice for heightened aroma, with an orange twist to lift.
Perfect for any occasion, and anyone.
© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.