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KCM Spirit Reviews

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Review 167: anCnoc 12 Year

Review 167
anCnoc 12 Year: 43% abv

Background: Let’s get this straightened out: anCnoc (meaning “the hill” in Gaelic) is pronounced a-nock. The namesake of anCnoc has not been around for that long, but the whisky itself has been around for quite some time. That’s because anCnoc whisky is formerly known as Knockdhu Scotch, which comes from the Knockdhu Distillery, in Knock, Scotland (Knock on wood…). In 1994, the distillery stopped calling its whisky Knockdhu, because the distillery was being confused with Knockando Distillery. In 1894, the distillery was founded. They currently have about 1.7M liters of capacity, and from an outsider’s perspective, they are gaining presence. The 12 Year is one of two regular main stays in the reasonable price range, with the 16 Year being its right-hand man.  So reasonable is this whisky, it sits alongside the Glenfiddich 12, Glenlivet 12, and Macallan 10 price range. So does it warrant you moving away from these classics to potentially adopt a new staple into the liquor cabinet?


Nose: You might get some green fruits of the nose of this whisky. The two we thought of immediately were white wine and pears. You will definitely find a malty character to the aroma, complimented by a natural wheat flavor in the background. The vanilla character associated with this Scotch is pretty dominant, and ultimately you do not suspect the influence of peat or sherry in this whisky. It would be safe to say that there is not much influence outside of bourbon casks. There is, however, a very subtle salt note that comes through in the back of the nose. Even to an extent, there is some agave coming through as well. After further analysis, there is a noticeable piece of ginger aroma within the AnCnoc.

Arrival: Well, if you like malt, you won’t be disappointed here. This is an absolutely fantastic blast of malt flavor right in the front; this is a pure, creamy and malty flavor, which feels like the perfect flavor extraction from the distillation process. I might venture a guess that this would actually make for decent white whisky. There is a sense of dried fruit, oak, and vanilla that come through. There is a tart flavor that comes through as well. There is a mysterious spiciness that will be evoked in the arrival as the single malt opens up.

Body: There is still some good maltiness in the body, but there is an addition of wheat, vanilla, cream, and even some saltiness. The evolution is quite smooth, but also noticeable. It is an oxymoron of dynamic and subtle at the same time. It is ultimately incredibly smooth. There is a sense of pear in the body as well. There is a sense of slight tartness in the body, which carries over from the arrival.
Finish: You would never guess it, but you guessed it. This finish is super malty, with some earthy, floral notes involved too. The vanilla is dominant, along with some residual tartness, subtle wood flavor, and a long lasting creaminess that almost reminds you of ice cream. Right from the body into the finish, you will find a Laffy Taffy banana flavor that jumps in, which is a weird descriptor, but truly hits the nail on the head. As an accent note, there is a very negligible, almost invisible note of smokiness that comes through in the finish.

With Water

Nose: The nose, although quite similar, brings forward some of the more dominant flavors of the Scotch. There is a sense of lemon that starts coming through, accompanied by a candy sweetness. There is more floral harshness in the nose with a significant vegetal quality, but it still retains the sweetness from before.

Arrival: The arrival is pretty similar to before, with the thought that maybe there is a slight increase in woodiness.

Body: There is a small amount of spiciness into the body that wasn’t as prominent as before. This isn’t necessarily a black pepper spice, but something more hot and flavorful, without breaching the realm of red pepper potency.
Finish: The finish comes across as a little less prominent than before, without much flavor change. It is a softer ending, but not too much shorter. The vegetal earthiness that comes through in the finish is a little more dominant now than before water.  

Final Comments: Yes. This will replace Macallan 10, it will replace Glenfiddich 12, and it will DEFINITELY replace Glenlivet 12. Take the price out of the equation for a second. The quality of this whisky is great, no matter what the age or the price is. It tastes fresh, but the creamy, pure malt flavor feels like exactly what good distillation should be. The complexity of this whisky isn’t groundbreaking, but that doesn’t mean it is dull. The whisky takes a contradictory path of smooth, mellow character met with deep, engaging flavor. We truly enjoyed this single malt a lot, and to be honest, it is almost TOO easy to drink. For the price, it is a must try. We would advise you to review the flavors, to understand what you’re buying, because unlike Glenfiddich or Glenlivet, this is not as much about dark, rich fruit flavor, but rather crisp, fresh, but slightly dried fruit flavors with a super blast of maltiness. If you like a dram of Glen Grant 10, this should definitely be on your list.
Why you’d buy it: It is good.

Why you wouldn’t: I don’t know.

Score: 8.75/10

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