Whisky Connosr

anCnoc 12 Year Old

A Bright Shiny Sunny Afternoon

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@talexanderReview by @talexander

4th Aug 2013


anCnoc 12 Year Old
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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My friend Rick Culver came by earlier today, and popped open a 1997 Aultmore, 12 years old, bottled by G&M for their Connoisseurs Choice label (refill sherry casks, 43% ABV) Very nice, and I commented that it was an elegant choice for this hot summer day today. After he left, I thought hmmmm...what other malt be right for this lovely afternoon?

Look in vain for the anCnoc Distillery - it doesn't exist, and never has. This is one of the few single malts that has a totally different name than its distillery (in this case, Knockdhu, who did not want any confusion between it and Knockando, another Speysider). It has only two stills, wooden washbacks, stone-built dunnage warehouses and still uses worm tub condensers - little has changed since it opened in October 1894. In fact, it was the first distillery built by DCL (later known as Diageo), who then closed it in 1983. Six years later it was re-opened by Inver House, who didn't change a thing. Thank God.

The colour is a bright pale gold. The nose is bright as well, fresh and fruity, with honey, lemon citrus and baskets of barley sugar. Some cocoa as well, and a little briny. Sweet and refreshing, perfect on a hot summers day like today. Water seems to add an almost peaty element to it!

On the palate, more honey with a creamy mouthfeel - this has some body to it. The vanilla and citrus is very much in keeping with the nose, absolutely delicious. A little brighter with water, believe it or not - and spicier.

The finish is long and lingering, and a little spicier than you would think. This has a wonderful balance between having some serious body to it (perhaps thanks to the old-fashioned worm tubs) while retaining that light and fruity Speyside character. Beautifully done - this would make a much better single malt introduction for the novice, than the usual Glens. If you are interested, Jim Murray scores this a 94.5.

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talexander commented

Well, that's Rick, eh? We then tried the spirit we have maturing in our little casks; then walked over to the brunch place around the corner. I had Pulled Pork Eggs Benny! Didn't need to eat for the rest of the day...

10 years ago 0

WhiskyBee commented

Another great review. Glad to see you like this one. You seem to find it a little more substantial than I did, but I always thought it was an underrated wbisky. Ranks alongside HP 12 as a great bang-for-the-buck single malt.

10 years ago 0

FMichael commented

Nice review!

I must say that the an Cnoc 12 yr is my favorite "daily dram"...Cannot say that though for it's older sibling the 16 yr expression.

For roughly $40 (some retailers have it as low as $34) it's a great bargain!

10 years ago 0

Victor commented

I have still yet to taste An Cnoc 12. This sounds much like The Bailie Nicol Jarvie in flavour style.

On a serious note, where would barley sugar come from in a fermented whisky? If this is really barley sugar, then is this due to incomplete fermentation?

People will frequently talk about the sweetness of corn in bourbon,...but those are people who have never tasted corn white dog...no sweetness at all there...all of the sugar comes from oak.

10 years ago 0

sengjc commented

I recently acquired a bottle of this as I was keen to try following Mr. Murray's score on this relatively inexpensive and unknown malt. The description suited something that I was looking for too: a lighter bodied, elegant style akin to the Compass Box Hedonism in body and mouthfeel but perhaps with less bourbon influence. Based on the review, this looks promising.

10 years ago 0

talexander commented

@FMichael - I don't recall how much it costs here in Ontario, but even here it was reasonably priced.

@Victor - "barley sugar" is a tasting note I get from a lot of lighter, non-peated single malts - it's like a sweet cereal note. I've detected it when I've tasted wort at single malt distilleries; I'm no whisky-maker but it makes sense to me that the sugars in the wort would carry that sweetness over into the spirit. I've tasted sweetness from many new make spirits from single malt distilleries, and I definitely got some sweetness from Buffalo Trace White Dog. Corn has a lot of sugar in it, so no that flavour doesn't all come from the cask. The "sweet" elements coming from a cask would taste very different from "sweet" elements coming out of the spirit.

10 years ago 0