The story of the Knockdhu distillery starts in 1892 with an enterprising chap named, John Morrison, bought Knock estate. The surrounding land was full of peat and barley and the Great North Railway line ran nearby. When springs of pure, clear water were found. Samples of the water were sent for analysis and soon negotiations were underway to build a distillery. Knockdhu opened its doors in October 1894 back then it was regarded as the perfect embodiment of a modern distillery. So it’s no surprise that they still produce a light, intriguing and thoroughly modern whisky to this day.
Founded in 1893 Knockdhu has changed hands several times over the years, but it wasn’t until they were bought by Inver House that bottling named after the distillery ceased and the name AnCnoc was born. Starting in 1993 Inver House changed the bottling names to AnCnoc but it wasn’t until 2003, after Inver House was bought by Pacific Spirits that the AnCnoc established the baseline official bottling. From that point on various releases have happened and more expensive bottles with bigger age statements have been released along with special editions.
The anCnoc 18 year old is light and yet complex, Smooth yet challenging. This dram has something for everyone, noting many fruits ranging from fresh spring berries to tropical fruits and flowers.
ABV: 43%. Color: Gentle amber with a slight yellow hue. Casks: Mix of bourbon – sherry casks.
Sweet with honey, dried raisins, sultanas and sticky Medjool dates. It is almost like a rum and raisin ice cream with its creamy vanilla and alcoholic fumes. Detect blood oranges and candied peel, but also a bitterness akin to tea leaves that reminds me of both Lady and Earl grey with their bergamot and citrus notes. There are undertones of liquorice, fresh ginger and wet soil. Also mint chocolate chip ice cream comes through with toffee and butterscotch and the scent of an unlit cigar.
Sweet but not overly so, I get dried jujube dates, goji berries, sultanas and raisins. It is slightly tannic, as I get cloves and that numb feeling on the tongue you get from biting down on one. Hints of rubber. Surprisingly thin, but has an oiliness that carries the flavor round the mouth. Dry and oaky, but also creamy, with soothing honey and oats. A bitterness comes through with cassia bark, powdered ginger and burnt toffee sauce and warming to the throat. The tannins also give the sides of the tongue a slight numbness.
It has a medium to long finish, with some spicy notes and a citrus tang a touch of honey, almost disappears but lingers.
Balance, Body & Feel
This is a whisky I have revisited few times, it does not disappoint. I encourage blind tastings. If you take the time and apply a bit of concentration, blind tastings can help teach you a lot about your palate and what you like and dislike. Your experience of a whisky is very subjective and can depend on so many factors.