Highland Treat – AnCnoc Rùdhan 46% 

From the honeyed sweetness of the Black Hill, we shifted into a peatier AnCnoc, with their Travel Retail edition Rùdhan. What did the Whisky Ladies think?

AnCnoc Rùdhan 46%

  • Nose – Strong and sweet, peat then settles down, bit of spice… a bit sharp… surprisingly we then found it shifted into vegetal aromas – distinctly carrot juice! Then shifted again to vanilla apple spice with cinnamon
  • Palate – First sip had a nice spice kick, lots of cinnamon, tobacco, like fireworks sparkling on the tongue, nicely buttery, honey
  • Finish – Peat yet also fruity with primarily apple just and a chaser of tart cranberry juice

It was quite provocative and perhaps a bit fickle minded. 

We set it aside and found it became even sweeter, the sharpness settled down and yet its character remained. Smoke and spice – subdued yet most enjoyable.

And what do the folks at AcCnoc have to say?

The highly anticipated Rùdhan is the latest travel retail expression to join the Peaty Collection. In keeping with anCnoc’s traditional style, the whisky takes its name from the peat harvesting process. The term ‘rùdhan’ [roo-an] refers to the final stage, in which the peat is stacked for several weeks to dry out ahead of burning to create the signature smokiness associated with the range.

  • Colour – Pale Straw
  • Nose – TA light fruitiness kicks off this elegant dram. Delicate floral notes play their part before bowing out to a burnt wood smokiness.
  • Taste – On the palate, it takes on a whole new character. Earthy peat smoke still prevalent, it is now accompanied by the more robust notes of spice and burnt sugar. 
  • Finish – The finish is smooth and warm.

Like the Black Hill, depending on where you travel, you may still be able to find a bottle for approximately €52.

We also had these as part of our Highland Treat :

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Highland Treat – AnCnoc Black Hill Reserve 46%

So back in July, our Whisky Ladies had an evening featuring a trio of highland drams. It was a lovely evening where the tasting progression was spot on! And then I somehow managed to lose my tasting notes – for months!

Finally recovered, hope you enjoy our impressions…

AnCnoc Black Hill Reserve 46%

  • Nose – First whiff was full fruity, a bit spicy, a little rustic, some hay, lovely honeyed sweetness, like a fresh fragrant meadow, rewarding us with a delightful perfume. After the 1st sip, grapefruit citrus twist, vanilla, desert custard, heather
  • Palate – Lovely, floral, lots of honey, orange, gets more and more flavourful, spice
  • Finish – Heather with leather, long and satisfying

We really enjoyed this one and found it both very well balanced and frankly, just well done! That light, bright sunshine kind of whisky that is a perfect way to start…

We set it aside to try the next two and then revisited to find honeydew melon, honey… quite pleasant.

And what do the folks at AcCnoc have to say?

Knockdhu Distillery’s enduring charisma echoes the timeless allure of the nearby Knock Hill, known to the locals as the Black Hill. It is the source of the springs which bring our whisky to life and in whose shadow the Distillery has flourished since 1894. Gaelic for Black Hill, Knockdhu remains rooted in traditional production methods, yet the refreshingly modern personality of anCnoc Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky conveys its contemporary outlook. An outstanding addition to our range of whiskies, Black Hill Reserve is testimony to the finest qualities of anCnoc. Matured exclusively in first fill American oak ex-bourbon casks, it is a whisky every bit as captivating as the historic corner of Scotland from which it comes.

  • Colour – Bright Gold.
  • Nose – The bright and crisp notes of citrus, green apples and coconut are complemented by honey sweetness and layers of fresh vanilla. Satisfying and refreshing.
  • Taste – Full bodied and bursting with rich flavour, it brings to mind ground spices, pear drops, candied orange peel and sharp toffee sweetness underpinned by just a hint of old leather.
  • Finish – The finish is long and intense.

Did we agree? Absolutely!

Depending on where you travel, you may be lucky enough to find this in travel retail for around £52.

What else did we try in our Highland Treat?

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Whisky Live with Stuart Harvey – AnCnoc 12, 18 and 24

At Whisky Live Singapore 2017, the AnCnoc booth was a welcome change… with someone who really knows what he is talking about!

Enter Stuart Harvey – master distiller and master blender for Inver House, Keeper of the Quaich and much more. We first met in Mumbai in July 2015 when he came to introduce then conduct a Master Class of BalblairOld Puteney and Speyburn.

At that time, AnCnoc was not part of their Indian line-up. Given its lighter, elegant Highland character, it is one of those whiskies where you can appreciate it needs to be available where a more nuanced profile is understood. For example, you would never want to shock an anCnoc with a bunch of ice and drown it with water. While not ideal, by contrast the Speyburn could hold up well even with such cavalier serving norms, thank you very much!

But I digress… on to the anCnoc… and fleeting impressions from a quick “speed tasting”…

anCnoc 12 year 40%

  • Nose – Light, bright, fruity and floral, drizzle of honey, sweet citrus sweet
  • Palate – Cereals, soft, subtle, gently complex
  • Finish – Fabulous light touch

The 12 year is a perfect sunny afternoon dram, exceedingly easy to drink. Matured in American oak with (did I get this right?) a Fino finish.

anCnoc 18 year 46%

  • Nose – Sherry sweet and spice, still fruity though now more dried fruit than juicy fresh fruit, floral, vanilla
  • Palate – Balanced, continuing with the fruity light pepper spice with a hint of citrus
  • Finish – Lovely warm spice
  • Water – Opens it up beautifully

A marriage of ex-Spanish sherry casks and American ex-bourbon, if the 12 year old is an afternoon dram, the 18 year slides into an early evening sipper.

anCnoc 24 year 46%

  • Nose – Intense character, shifting into Christmas cake territory, vanilla custard
  • Palate – Full force wood, warm spice
  • Finish – Take your time…

The 24 year is clearly a deeper, darker expression than the other two and well worth sampling. If the 18 year is an early evening companion, the 24 year is to pull out late when you just want a little that will go a long way… not rushing the experience.

I wouldn’t mind an opportunity to try it again properly instead of merely speed tasting!

Related experiences:

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Whisky Archives – Auchentoshan, AnCnoc, Deanston, Tomatin

Here’s another post from our archives, this time courtesy of another member from April 2012…

The evening was delightful with a very special malt selection comprising of Auchentoshan 12 year 40%, AnCnoc 40%, a not so common Deanston 46.3% and a Tomatin 21% received as a gift from the distiller.

Deanston sampling in KLWe liked the bitter chocolate in Deanston and the strong, spicy mint (like pudina chutney not altoids) in Tomatin (quite complex and a great Cigar paring we think).

One found the AnCnoc was almost like Compass Box’s Spice Tree with it’s spice burst. Another loves lowland whiskies so anything from there makes a good after dinner drink for him, whereas yet another chose the Tomatin as his repeat drink.

We also discovered the dramatic difference in the overall experience of tasting the same whisky in two different glasses – a regular tumbler styled glass and the recommended nosing glass by Glencairn.

Fast forward…

While I missed sampling with our merry group, I managed to taste them at a later point… most recently the Deanston in Kuala Lumpur.

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Mumbai’s Whisky Ladies greet AnCnoc 12 + 22 year with Karen Walker

You thought we were done after a gin and three whiskies? Oooooh no! I did mention that this was the evening when our Whisky Ladies went pro?

The delightful Karen Walker, Global Marketing Head for Scottish Brands of InterBeverage Group then introduced us to not one but two AcCnoc offerings!

AnCnoc 12 year (courtesy Inver House)

AnCnoc 12 year (courtesy Inver House)

All along in the evening, Karen shared insight into the personalities of each distillery manager. In the case of AnCnoc, she described both the whisky and manager as “dry, humorous, complex.”

Here is what our ladies found…

AnCnoc 12 year 40% year aka Modern Tradition

  • Nose – Soft, a drizzle of honey and citrus
  • Taste – Playful quality, sweet, some fruit, VERY easy to drink
  • Finish – Some found it quickly disappeared, others remarked there was indeed a warm soft finish, lingering yet subtle

Karen then unearthed a sample of the AnCnoc 22 year 46%!

  • Nose – Bursting with citrus, flowery, mild yet with complexity, dry, evolves into berries with a hint of talcum powder and a whisp of smoke
  • Taste – Quite sweet, a little ‘oily’ with coconut, some bananas… or oranges… or raisins… or all of them! Sweet spices like cinnamon and cloves.
  • Finish – Ooooh! Lovely sweet berry finish, smokey with a hint of delicious sweet spices

This whisky sparked a slew of comments:

  • “It is so fresh! Yet at the same time so mature…”
  • “Incredibly well balanced and smooth… absolutely no rough edges.”
  • “Delightful!”
  • “Warms you, completely inoffensive”

We quite enjoyed our double hitter from Knockdhu Distillery. Quite the ‘finish’ to a rather sociable sampling evening for our Whisky Ladies with Karen.

It is remarkable anyone was still standing after sipping Caorunn gin, Balblair 03, Speyburn 10 year, Old Pulteney 12 year!

Slainthe!

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