Having just reviewed the An Cnoc 12, it makes sense to follow up with the 16. In a sense, the 16 is very much an older sibling to the 12. But while they do share much of the same DNA, as it were, they also seem to have a completely different approach in terms of delivery and pace. A few more years in the barrel and a higher abv have made quite an impact here. Here’s my take on the 16:
Nose: Grass, hay, star anise, oak, woodspice, honey, lemon lozenges, ginseng, mustard, fennel, and salted butter. Like the 12, this is herbal and vegetal with some exotic spices worked in.
Palate: Light-to-medium bodied. Crisp and fresh. Vanilla, cream, BIG grass, lemongrass, lemon zest, licorice, white pepper, oak, and butter.
Finish: Grass, licorice, curdled milk, faint cumin, fennel, honey, white pepper, woodspice, Frosted Flakes, vanilla ice cream, and faint smoke. At the tail end some more of those exotic Indian spices reappear.
I’m a fan of this one. It’s got some very distinctive flavours and a nice edginess to it. There’s a licorice/grass note here that I could almost align with a Longmorn. In keeping with the An Cnoc style, there are also some lovely, exotic spices in here. It’s got a fun, complex, interesting kind of heat; never rough. It comes together as a rounded, complex dram with some serious character.
In comparison with the 12, the 16 is decidedly more approachable and stable. We have the herbal, vegetal, spicy notes that are present in the 12. But we also have a fuller, richer body and a more tangible, paced arrival. There are also stronger notes of vanilla and cream, and an oaky, more drying finish. Where the 12 is bizarre and elusive, the 16 is easier to grasp. In a sense, it’s more conventional (for An Cnoc, that is). And I mean that in a good way. It delivers some of those exotic flavours that I love so much in the 12 with more refinement and less noise. However it also doesn’t deliver the same amount of “adventure” as the 12. But this one is hardly dull, either. Recommended.