New anCnocs on Taste; Speyburn Opens; Welsh Whisky Achieves UKGI Status
You think there‘s going to be nothing to write about this time and then two whisky samples turn up with excellent timing. They are two samples of peated anCnoc, both launched several weeks ago as well as a sample of their 12 Year Old as a reminder of their core expression.
The first an Cnoc is anCnoc Sherry Cask Finish Peated Edition (43% abv). AnCnoc is always a subtle whisky so I was looking forward to this one, to both new expressions, in fact. There is no age statement on either of them.
Appearance: Medium amber; yellow and old gold highlights. Tears medium speed and fairly close together.
Nose: Toffee, honey-baked apple; milk chocolate raisins; a touch of golden syrup but all fresh and light – not too sweet or cloying. Hint of youth. With water, a little more dried vine fruit. Mellow oak and a touch of sweet spice. The tiniest hint of sulphur. Baked plums and some white pepper. Honey is more forward now too. The peat/smoke element isn‘t at all pronounced.
Palate: Dried herbs; a touch peppery. Honey and some caramelised brown sugar. A little peat and smoke add depth and richness but it‘s very subtle and well-integrated. It‘s more obvious on the palate than on the nose. It dries the edges of the tongue and gives up some spiciness and oak.
Finish: Dry, lightly smoky and quite long.
This first one uses both peated and unpeated whiskies and spends time in American oak before finishing in sherry butts from Jerez. Expect to find it in good whisky shops at around £40 (UK pricing)
The second new expression is anCnoc Peatheart Heavily Peated Batch 3 (46% abv). We‘re told this is 34ppm of phenols in the barley and 13.3ppm in the final whisky. Please remember that phenols reduce during the whisky production process.
Appearance: Pale gold grain stalk/white burgundy tones. Pale lemon highlights; almost a green tinge. Tears quite slow, clingy and close.
Nose: Mildly smoky on the nose, peat not too overt at first. Apples and cream cheese; fresh and clean. Mellow wood and a dab of vanilla. Earthy. With water, I found this a little less appealing at first but give it time. There‘s a more yeasty note and a bit more fruit; waxed flowers. I thought I detected a hint of menthol but it‘s very fleeting. A bit of youth here also.
Palate: Medium mouth feel and slightly mouth-coating. Smoky but not at all harsh at first then stronger smoke, peat, char and a little tar come in but there‘s a lovely rearguard barley sweetness too. Oak tannins, a little vanilla and dancing pepper on the tongue. This one has a bit more depth on palate than on nose. A touch of bitters too.
Finish: Quite long and smoky with cereal sweetness and oak wood plus a slight, pleasant bitterness.
Price on this one will be around £55. Only 1535 cases are available. Both whiskies are available in the UK now via whiskyshop.com and specialist stores. It can also be purchased via Amazon. In the next few months both will be expanded into other markets internationally including Canada, Europe and Asia (exact countries in the latter two not specified).
News came in recently that Speyburn Distillery has opened up to visitors permanently following their events at Spirit of Speyside earlier this year. They‘ve been closeted away for 126 years simpy making good whisky but have now decided it‘s time to meet the public on a more regular basis. The distillery will open for tours from 1st August and you can book this new curiosity via https://www.speyburn.com/visit-us or by calling +44 (0) 7977 706676. They run Tuesday – Saturday. And there are three tour times each day. Each tour lasts 1 hour and 45 minutes. I‘d like to get up there myself as I‘ve driven past above it in it‘s little glen many times. I expect it to be a fine addition to the other distilleries you can visit in the area. One notable feature is the drum maltings, „… a traditional maltings building featuring three impressive floors of rarely seen vintage equipment. Mothballed half a century ago, it has lain locked and perfectly preserved until today, offering guests a unique glimpse into Speyside distilling history… The tours will also provide an insight into Speyburn’s environmental credentials, and the measures the Distillery team are taking to protect the surrounding environment and make their whisky one of the most sustainably-produced on the market today.“ So next time you plan on visiting Speyside do add Speyburn Distillery into your plans.
Good news for Welsh Single Malt Whisky this month as they now have protected Geographical Indication status – a UK accreditation set up post-Brexit to replace the European PGI status. I first heard about the Welsh distillers‘ campaign to achieve this when visiting Aber Falls Distillery (well worth a visit) in North Wales in 2021. It all started in 2020 when four of the distilleries (there are now a couple more) got together to push for it. Their hard work is cause for celebration. Penderyn Distillery was the catalyst for modern whisky production in Wales, getting their wash for distillation from Brain‘s Brewery initially before having their own facility and they were an inspiration for others. To all Welsh distillers, lang may your lum reek, as we say in Scotland. I‘ll let you research that one for yourselves but it is a wish for success and longevity!
That‘s all for this time and I‘ll be back mid-August with any new info or comment. Meantime, happy dramming.