Showing posts with label Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review. Show all posts

Highland Park Dragon Legend Review


“Another Park Another Sunday”

Whisky Review # 866

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands - Orkney
Brand: Highland Park Dragon Legend
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43.1%
Maturation: Mix of European and American Sherry-Seasoned Oak
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 40-60 (March 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: Okay.
Buying Advice: 😑 It's not bad but it's way too Thin/Watery for me.

Colour:

Golden Straw(Natural Colour)

Nose:

Young, Light, Clean, slightly Floral and a little Harsh. The Alcohol is noticeable. Mainly Sweet with some clear Sherry Wood Aromas. This is supposed to be more Peaty than most Highland Park Malt but Peat and Smoke are still quite subdued. It's not unpleasant but it's rather simple and not fully-matured. I can't exclude the use of some Virgin Oak.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Grass and Straw, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Plums and Apricots, Earthy Peat, Oak Char, Candied- Orange, Stewed Apples, Red Grapes, Cinnamon, Ginger and Nutmeg.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Golden Syrup, Heather-Honey, Spicy Fruitcake, Wax, Lemon, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Ashes, Polished Leather, Mint and Cloves.



Palate:

Light, Thin to the point of Watery and a bit Harsh. It basically follows the Nose but Smoke and Peat are more noticeable now. Mostly Sweet with a few Bitter & Sour touches.

Main Flavours:

Toasted and Malted Barley, Burnt Straw/Grass/Heather, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Earthy Peat, Smoke, Wax, Candied Orange, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Licorice and Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Golden Syrup, Apple, Lemon, Nectarine, Polished Leather, Dusty Cellar, Oak Char, Raw Meat, Milk, Soot and Ashes.


Finish:

Middle-Long. A Mix of Sweet, Bitter and Sour notes. It's not bad but suffers from its Thin structure despite the reasonable ABV. I find Toasted Barley, Peat and Smoke, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Dried Fruit (Raisin, Apricot), Apple, Candied Orange, Oak Char, Lemon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves, Aniseed and Licorice. Hints of Polished Leather, Nectarine, Raw Meat and Red Wine.

Drinking Advice:

This Dragon Legend does not improve with added water. It's already sufficiently Thin as it is.

Rating: 84 

Nose: 21 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21  - Overall: 21

Drinking Experience Neat: Thin but Okay

Conclusion:

The distillery was founded in 1798 by David Robertson. It is located in the small town of Kirkwall on the isle of Orkney.  Orkney is still quite strongly influenced by its Viking past and the distillery has increasingly used this past as a rather successful marketing tool. Highland Park currently produces around 2.5 million litres of Alcohol & is owned since 1997 by the Edrington Group. The core range basically consists of the 10 years (Viking Scars), the 12 years (Viking Honour), the 18 years (Viking Pride), the 25, 30 and 40 years.

The Vikings feared and respected Dragons that were said to possess mystical powers although they represented Evil. Viking warrior Sigurd killed the Serpent Dragon Fafnir, drank its Blood and gained powerful gifts such as Prophecy and Wisdom. Wow! 😏

The Dragon Legend was released in 2017. Let's start on the positive side. It's not a bad Highland Park considering it's NAS and quite Young. There are no Off-Notes and it's all reasonably agreeable though forgettable. What kills it for me is its Thin, almost Watery texture. When I think of Vikings and Dragons I think of Strength, Courage, Thunderstorms and the like. What you get with the Dragon Legend reminds me more of an Afternoon Tea event organized by some elderly women than a banquet to the honour of Sigurd. As an entry, lightly peated malt it's okay though and so is its price!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     March 30,2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2019

Bruichladdich Octomore 07.1 Review


“(Octo) More Than Words”

Whisky Review # 865

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bruichladdich Octomore 07.1 (208 PPM) - Scottish Barley Series
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Limited Edition
Age: 5 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 59.5%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon American Oak casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 120-160 (March 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎Too expensive for such a Young Single Malt.
Buying Advice: 👍Very nice heavily peated Young Islay. 

Colour:

Golden Straw (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Please give this Octomore some time in the glass before Nosing. It's probably the peatiest Single Malt I've tried so far. The 1st impression is peated Grist, something some of you have certainly smelled during a visit to Islay distilleries. The Alcohol is quite strong, no wonder at close to 60%! The Nose presents lots of Burnt, Charred and Medicinal notes that seem to have been infused into the Malt. If you're a beginning Whisky drinker, this Nose might turn you off a little. But after a while in the glass it actually becomes quite balanced and almost soft, albeit a bit one-sided.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, slightly Burnt Toast, Salted Caramel, Burnt Grass, Dirty Peat, Factory Smoke, Sea Water, Iodine, Bandaid, Rubber, Tarmac, Ashes, TCP Pipes, Green Apple, BBQ Bacon in Honey/Treacle sauce, Charred Oak, Leather, Wet Stones/Sand, Pepper and Aniseed.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Mix of Straw and Cow Manure, Salted Almonds, Soot, Burnt Herbs, Lemon, Pear, Driftwood, Metal and Mint.


Palate:

The Thick and Oily Palate basically follows the Nose. Peat Lovers will certainly appreciate this 07.1 Octomore. Within its (rather limited) peated purpose it does certainly shine although it's a bit on the Sweet side. With a longer maturation this could become a great Islay Malt but that's day dreaming.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Burnt Toast, Salted Caramel, Burnt Grass, Dirty Peat, Factory Smoke, Iodine, Band Aid, Ashes, Soot, TCP Pipes, Rubber, Tarmac, Mix of Cow Manure and Straw, Bacon on the BBQ, Burnt Herbs, Green Apple, Grapefruit, Roasted Nuts, Leather, Wet Stones and Sand, Pepper, Licorice and Menthol.
  
Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Lemon, Bitter Orange Juice, Mustard, Charred Oak, Roasted Coffee, Olive Oil, Pear and Ginger.


Finish:

Bitter-Sweet, Medium-Dry and Exceptionally Long. The Alcohol is quite Strong and the Whisky is Young but it's still quite Tasty if you're into peated Malt. The Palate and Finish are quite in line with the Nose. Therefore I find Toasted Malt, Burnt Toast, Burnt Grass, Mix of Straw and Cow Manure, Factory Smoke, Dirty Peat, Iodine, Band Aid, Tar, Rubber, Soot, TCP Pipes, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Burnt Newspaper, Burnt Herbs, Bacon on the BBQ, Charred Oak, Salted Nuts, Roasted Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Green Apple, Lemon, Pepper, Ginger, Licorice, Mustard and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not really benefit this Octomore although you can carefully add a few drops at a time. Don't overdo it though as it can easily drown.

Rating: 86

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 21.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

Bruichladdich was founded in 1881 by Barnett Harvey. During its history it was mothballed various times, the last time in 1998. In 2012 the Islay distillery was bought by Remy Cointreau (France). Since, Bruichladdich is showing a healthy growth again. The distillery produces 3 types of Single Malt, i.e. the unpeated Bruichladdich, the heavily peated Port Charlotte and the very heavily peated Octomore. The basic core range for Bruichladdich includes The Classic Laddie, Islay Barley 2010 & Black Art 5. The annual production amounts to around one million litres.

The Octomore 07.1 was released in 2015. At 208 PPM you would expect an insupportable Peat Monster but that's not the case. It's certainly a Peat-Bomb but it somehow manages to maintain a certain balance. If you don't like peated Whisky you should stay away from Octomore in general but for those who love their peat the 07.1 will be a pleasant surprise. My only issues are its Youth and its Price. This could be a really great Whisky if matured for say 15 years. As it is, it's a very nice and balanced Young peated Islay Malt. I wouldn't pay 150 US Dollars for a bottle though. It's just too expensive for a Young Whisky. But I did enjoy the Tasting session!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                    March 23, 2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

Glenlivet The Master Distiller's Reserve Small Batch Review


“All the Small Things”
Whisky Review # 864

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glenlivet "The Master Distiller's Reserve" Small Batch (# 9378/010)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Mix of Sherry Butts, American Oak and Traditional Oak casks
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 170-270 (March 2020) - Huge local price differences!
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎It's better than the regular MDR but way too expensive!
Buying Advice: 👎Better stay with the core range. I recommend the 18 Y.

Colour:

Amber with shades of Orange (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Young, Medium-Light and Sweet. Clear Sherry influences. A few Sour & Grassy notes as well. It's okay and not unpleasant. Nothing special though. Much better though than the regular MD Reserve that I reviewed earlier. Certainly a result of the better casks used for this Small Batch.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley Sugar, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Rum-Soaked Fruitcake with lots of Raisins and Sultanas, Apple, Pear, English Breakfast Marmalade, Grass, Caffe Latte, Milk Chocolate, Cinnamon, Ginger and Mint.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Caramel, Toffee, Honey, Nectarine, Mandarin, Lemon, Sugared Almonds, Wet Stones, Floral Perfume, Coconut and Wood Shavings.



Palate:

Young, rather Light and Medium-Dry with Sweet, Bitter, Green and Sour Notes. The Alcohol is noticeable by now.

Main Flavours:

Barley Sugar, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Fruitcake, Green Apple, Pear, Sugared Nuts, Seville-Orange, Grass, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon and Licorice.
  
Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Caramel, Honey, Raisins,  Mandarin, Grapefruit, Dusty Track, Mint, Caffe Latte, Metal and Nutmeg.

Finish:

Middle-Long, slightly Edgy and Light with mixed Sweet, Bitter and Sour Notes. The Alcohol is a bit Sharp at this Point showing us the relative Youth of this Single Malt. I find Sweet Barley, Sugar, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Sugared Nuts, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas & Apricots, Honey, Seville Orange, Mandarin, Lemon, Caffe Latte, Floral Perfume, Green Apple, Pepper, Cinnamon, Licorice, Ginger & Mint.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not improve this Glenlivet.

Rating: 81

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20  - Finish: 19  - Overall: 20.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

Conclusion:

The Glenlivet Distillery is located in Ballindalloch (Banfshire) and was founded in 1824 by George Smith. Since 2001 it is owned by Chivas Brothers Pernod Ricard and in 2018 a new extension of the distillery was approved that will increase the production to around 21 million litres making it the largest Single Malt distillery in Scotland. The Core range includes The Founder's Reserve (NAS), the 12, 15, 18 and 21 Years as well as the XXV and the Captain's Reserve. The Master Distiller's Reserve Small Batch I'm reviewing today was launched in 2011 and is part of the Travel Retail range.

The Small Batch is a step up when compared to the regular Master Distiller's Reserve. The main reason is that better casks were used to mature the spirit. The price increased disproportionally though and that's the principal reason I can't recommend this Small Batch. By the way, Small Batches may vary from time to time of course. This Small Batch benefits from the better casks but still suffers from its Youth and the inadequate ABV. It's an okay introduction to the Single Malt market if you are a fresh whisky traveller. But it doesn't present any sufficiently interesting Aromas and Flavours for long time whisky adepts.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                    March 16, 2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2019

Ardbeg Uigeadail 2016 Review



“The Ardbeg Uigeadail Reviews”

History:

At the start of 2014 I had the opportunity to review the Ardbeg Uigeadail bottled in 2012. I loved this Single Malt and it still occupies the # 1 spot in my All-Time Whisky List. Early 2018 I received a small sample of the same Whisky, bottled in 2017. I did a quick and dirty tasting session due to the very small size of the sample but it became clear that it differed substantially when compared to the 2012 expression. When I was in The Netherlands last year I received a generous sample of the 2016 Bottling from my brother in law Jan Bronkhorst with the request to do a full review on this expression in order to better compare it with the 2012 bottling. That's exactly what I'm gonna do today. Cheers and thanks for the sample Jan!


Ardbeg Uigeadail 2012 Review (Reviewed on January 1, 2014)

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Ardbeg Uigeadail (Bottled 2012)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
ABV: 54.2 %

Colour: Amber

Nose: Give the Uigeadail sufficient time in the glass. At first I get loads of Earthy Juicy Peat accompanied by Smoked Meat, Bacon, Fish-Oil, Tar, Leather, Rum-Soaked Fruit Cake, Pepper and Salt. But be patient because this Ardbeg has more to offer. After a while I find Raisins, Espresso, Chocolate/Cocoa, Toffee, Caramel, Brown Sugar, a little Sherry, Malt and Cigar Ashes. The ABV is a bit too high perhaps and the Alcohol is not completely integrated. But other than that the Uigeadail is nicely balanced and comfortable on the Nose.

Palate: Juicy Peat, Creamy Barley, BBQ Smoke, Tar, Leather, Oak, Sweet Dark Fruits, Honey, Bacon, light Medicinal tones, Pepper, Cinnamon, Lemon, Sherry and a hint of Chocolate. This is Ardbeg at its best!

Finish: Very Long, Sweet at first but Dry later on. Juicy Peat, Earth, Caramel, Sweet Barley, Brown Sugar, Espresso, light Licorice, Cigar Ashes, White Pepper, BBQ Smoke and Toast with a nice slice of Bacon.

With a bit of Water the Nose gets more Honey and Dark Fruits (Prunes). Honey and Sweet Peat are reinforced on the palate but the Finish becomes shorter and not quite that expressive. Better sip the Uigeadail neat!

Rating: 92.5

Nose: 23 - Taste: 23.5 - Finish: 23 - Overall: 23


General Remarks: The Ardbeg (Little Height in Gaelic) Distillery is located on the South Coast of the Isle of Islay. The Distillery was founded in 1794 and commercial production started in 1815. It was closed between 1981 and 1989 after which it produced on a low scale until 1997 when it was bought by Glenmorangie Plc, part of the French LVMH Group. The Uigeadail takes it name from the loch that provides the Distillery with the peated Water. Uigeadail means Dark and Mysterious Place in Gaelic. It matures in a mix of Ex-Bourbon Casks and Ex-Sherry Butts and is married before bottling.The whisky is not Chill-Filtered and (in this case) bottled at Cask Strength in November 2012. It costs around 90 US Dollars, an excellent Price/Quality ratio.

Drinking Experience Neat: Very Good/Excellent

Conclusion: Ardbeg is certainly one of my favourite distilleries. Both the 10 Years and the Supernova 2010 are charted high in my Top 20 so far. But the Uigeadail seems to take the best of those two whiskies and add even more complexity and balance. Coastal, Floral and Fruity tones are in near perfect harmony. And despite its complexity it remains utterly drinkable as well! This could have scored even higher if the Uigeadail had been bottled at a slightly lower ABV. I think that anything between 46 and 50% would have been sufficient. Of course you can add a little Water but I'm not a great fan of that. Because in doing so you might make it easier to appreciate the Uigeadail but at the same time you alter the Spirit. I prefer to judge the whisky the way it is presented by the makers. But all in all this is a great Single Malt and it goes right to the # 1 spot in the Complete Ranking so far. What a great way to start 2014!


Ardbeg Uigeadail 2017

In the beginning of 2018 I had the chance to taste a dram of an Uigeadail that was bottled in 2017. For sure this expression has changed. It's less complex and shows more Peat and Spices. The Finish is a lot shorter than it was before. It's still a nice Whisky but the magic is gone. I would assume that the lack of good Bourbon and Sherry casks has hit the Uigeadail as well. Based on the sample I would rate the 2017 expression as follows:

Rating: 86.5
Nose: 22 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 22 =================================================



“The Magic Has Gone”

Whisky Review # 861

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Ardbeg Uigeadail (Bottled in 2016)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 54.2%
Maturation: A mix of Ex-Bourbon and Sherry Wood
Chill Filtration: No
Sample provide by: Jan from the Netherlands. Many Thanks!
Price Range: US$ 80-100 (February 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: Okay
Buying Advice: 👍It's not what it used to be but still a good peated Malt.

Colour: Medium Amber (Natural Colour)  - It's Lighter in Colour than the 2012

Nose:

Lots of Peat, Smoke and (Burnt) BBQ notes. Some Sweet, some Sour. I feel that the Sherry cask influence has diminished. It's not bad for sure but it lost balance and complexity when compared to the 2012.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Burnt Toast, Salted Caramel, Peat (Dirty Earth), Cold Campfire Smoke, Burnt Grass, Tar, Ashes, Bacon and Fish on the BBQ, Lemon, Pepper, Tobacco and Leather.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Brown Sugar, Toffee, Cooked Vegetables, Raspberry, Blueberry, Rum Soaked Raisins, Dark Chocolate, Herbal Tea, Black Espresso, Menthol and Old Cheese.



Palate:

Bitter Sweet, slightly Young and a little Rough. Still, it's my favorite part of this Uigeadail. Again quite a lot of Peat/Smoke, BBQ and Dark Fruits. It's a little Mineral and Medicinal as well.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Burnt Toast, Salted Caramel, Dirty Peat, Cold Campfire Smoke, Tar, Ashes, Bacon and Fish on the BBQ with a sprinkle of Lemon, Dark Cocoa, Pepper, Ginger, Cardamom, Leather, Licorice, Menthol and Dark Espresso.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Brown Sugar, Honey, Vanilla, Wet Stones, Burnt Newspaper, Raspberry, Blueberry, Rum Soaked Raisins, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Forrest Floor, Oak and Cinnamon.


Finish:

Quite Long. Bitter-Sweet and Medium-Dry. It feels a little Young and Harsh and I wonder if some Fresh Oak was introduced to the maturation process. I find Sweet Barley, Burnt Toast, Dirty Peat, Cold Smoke, Tar, Ashes, Bacon and Fish on the BBQ, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Honey, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Oak, Dark Chocolate, Bitter Espresso, Pepper, Menthol, Herbal Tea, Lemon, Leather, Tobacco and Licorice.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and although you loose a bit of the Harshness, it gets too diluted in my opinion. You can add a few drops but don't overdo it!

Rating: 86

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 22 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

The Uigeadail is still a nice peated Whisky but, as I wrote in my 2018 update, the magic has gone. The main reason must be the lack of good Sherry Wood. I  suspect that some Virgin Oak was used in the 2016 expression. As a result, the 2016 shows a lot of Peat, BBQ, Spices and Dark Fruit but it misses complexity and balance when compared to the great 2012 expression. Its relative Youth becomes also more clear in a few harsh notes. I still wouldn't say no if someone offered me a dram of the Uigeadail but I wouldn't go running after a full bottle anymore. Another dream is over unfortunately. We must face today's distorted Whisky market I'm afraid. Let's hope the good old days will return some day!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende
                                                                                         February 17, 2020

AnCnoc 12 Years Review - AnCnoc 18 Years Review - AnCnoc Peatheart Review


“AnCnoc Three Times”

Whisky Review # 857

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands
Brand: AnCnoc
Distilled at: Knockdhu
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Refill Ex-Bourbon Casks
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 30-40 (February 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐 Okay, especially if you can get it at around US$ 30.
Buying Advice: 👎It's not bad but at 40% it's way too Thin. Not recommended 

Colour: Yellow Gold (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Light, Fruity, Floral, Sweet, Sour, a little Thin and slightly Dusty. There is some Alcohol as well so please give this AnCnoc sufficient time in the glass and nose along the brim of your glass. The Nose is a bit underwhelming.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Grains, Sweet Barley, Grass & Straw, Yeast, Wax, Green Apple, Lemon, Grapefruit, Gooseberry, Cinnamon, Ginger, Licorice and Mint.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Buttered Toast, Honey, Floral Soap, Nuts, Apricot-filled Puff Pastry, Wet Stones, Dirty Track, Wet Newspaper, Metal, Unripe Banana dusted w/ Nutmeg, Pineapple and Mandarin.



Palate:

Light, Thin, Bitter-Sweet, Dry, Sour & Salty. The ABV of 40% is definitively too low in this case. The Aromas and Flavours are there somewhere but they are not presented in the correct way.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Grains, Sweet Barley, Grass and Straw, Yeast, Green Apple, Grapefruit, Lemon, Gooseberry, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Licorice, Tobacco and Mint.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Salted Caramel, Sugar, Vanilla, Honey, Smoke, Mixed Nuts/Dried Fruit, Clove, Dusty Refill Oak, Cocoa Powder, Dried Herbs, Floral Soap and Mandarin.

Finish:

Short, Bitter-Sweet, Sour, Salty, Watery & slightly Hot. The Bitterness increases towards the Dry end. The Alcohol is quite present. I find Toasted Grains, Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Floral Perfume, Lemon, Grapefruit, Gooseberry, Seville Orange, Honey, Nuts, Green Apple, Pear, Dried Herbs, Leather, Tobacco,  Pepper, Cinnamon, Dusty Oak, Licorice and a faint whiff of Smoke.

Drinking Advice:

Due to the small size of the sample I only tasted this AnCnoc neat.

Rating: 82

Nose: 21- Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion:

The Knockdhu distillery was founded in 1893 by DCL in the little village of Knock very close to Huntly (Aberdeenshire). It was mothballed in 1983 but reopened in 1989. Until 1993 the whisky was called Knockdhu but the owners decided to rename it to AnCnoc to avoid any possible confusion with the whisky produced at Knockando, a Diageo distillery in Speyside. The new owners are Inver House Distillers, part of Thai Beverages PLC. The beautiful distillery currently produces 1.7 million litres of Alcohol per year. The core range includes the 12, 18, 24 & 35 years and the Peatheart.

The 12 Years was re-introduced in 2003. It usually gets very reasonable or even good critics but I beg to differ here. It's not a bad Single Malt and the Aromas and Flavours are there somewhere below the surface. But the low ABV does not succeed to transport same towards Nose and Palate. It's way too Thin this way and that's a pity. The Price/Quality ratio is okay I suppose but I wouldn't buy a full bottle of the the 12 Years anyway due to the lack of body.

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Whisky Review # 858

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands
Brand: AnCnoc
Distilled at: Knockdhu
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 18 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Mix of 2nd Fill Ex-Bourbon Casks and 2nd Fill Ex-Oloroso Wood
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: Around US$ 80-100 (February 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👍Okay/Good. An 18 Years can't be cheap these days!
Buying Advice: 👍 Interesting Sherried Highland Malt with character.

Colour: Dark Amber with shades of Brown (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Quite Sweet with lots of Sherry cask influence in the form of Dried Fruit & Nuts. There are a few Sour and Bitter notes as well that provide some balance. The Alcohol is noticeable so please nose around the edges of your glass where you will pick up a nice Peach note.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Vanilla, Honey, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Plums, Toasted Nuts, Toasted Pineapple sprinkled with Cinnamon, Orange, Peach, Sugar, Chocolate, Cardamom, Ginger and Nutmeg.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Butterscotch, Mango, Banana, Apple, Pear, Gooseberry, Polished Leather, Glue, Tobacco, Dusty Track, Old Newspapers, Mint, Aniseed, Licorice, Herbal Tea and Musty Oak.



Palate:

The Sherry influence is quite clear again. A touch of Rubber perhaps but nothing too serious. Sugar, Dried Fruit, Nuts and Spices are in the lead. The Palate does feel a little Thin for an 18 Years old. Quite Dry as well. A mix of Sweet, Bitter and Sour notes.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Grains, Sweet Barley, Honey, Vanilla, Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Raisins and Dates, Apple, Pear, Straw, Orange, Lemon, Dark Chocolate, Pepper, Clove, Ginger and Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Salted Caramel, Butterscotch, Brown Sugar, Peach, Gooseberry, Musty Oak, Espresso, Cinnamon, Aniseed, Licorice, Menthol and Tobacco.



Finish:

Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, slightly Hot and quite Dry and a little Salty towards the end. I find Toasted Grains, Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Honey, Toffee, Dried Fruit like Raisins & Dates, Peanut Butter, Toasted Nuts, Oak Char, Apple, Pear, Dark Chocolate, Espresso, Sugar, Polished Leather, Straw, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger, Nutmeg, Menthol and Licorice. A touch of Smoke & a sprinkle of Lemon.

Drinking Advice:

Due to the small size of the sample I only tasted this AnCnoc neat.

Rating: 86

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

I liked the 18 years much better than its younger brother the 12 years. It has more balance and matured in better casks. The Sherry cask influence is quite substantial suggesting some active casks on that side. Like the 12 Years it feels a little Thin, especially on the Palate. But it does show character and presents enough interesting Aromas and Flavours to justify buying a bottle, Cheers!
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Whisky Review # 859

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands
Brand: AnCnoc Peatheart (40 PPM) - Batch 1
Distilled at: Knockdhu
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 55-65 (February 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎 Too expensive when compared to Young Islay Malts.
Buying Advice: 👍Young but tasty peated Single Malt. Too expensive though.

Colour: Chardonnay (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Young and Light. The Peat and Smoke are quite similar to Young Islay but less intense. The Alcohol is there so make sure to wind your Nose around it. The Nose is Sweet and slightly Medicinal. The Fruity tones remind me of Orchard & Citrus Fruit. It's okay I guess but very young and timid.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Dough, Grass & Straw, Cold Smoke, Dirty Earth (Peat), Iodine, Band-Aid, Tar, Green Apple, Lemon, Ginger, Menthol and Tobacco.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toasted Grain, Heather-Honey, Salted Toffee, Ashes, Soot, Orange Peel, Nuts, Artificially Flavoured Candies (Pineapple, Pear), Cocoa Powder, Wet Stones and Sand, Herbal Tea and Bacon on the BBQ. A hint of Varnish.



Palate:

Young, Sweet, a bit Nervous and a little on the Thin side but certainly tasty. I feel that Knockdhu would be able to create a truly wonderful matured peated AnCnoc. I hope they will do that in the future! The Palate is quite consistent with the Nose although the Peat and Smoke tend to dominate the Fruity notes somewhat. It's still a little unbalanced but, again, shows character.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Malted Barley, Vanilla, Grass and Straw, Campfire Smoke, Wet Peat, Tar, Soot, Iodine, Band-Aid, Bacon & Pork on the BBQ, Green Apple, Lemon, Orange and Grapefruit, Pepper, Ginger, Cardamon, Leather and Cocoa Powder.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Salted Toffee, Dough, Ashes, Wet Stones/Sand, Pear, Toasted Pineapple, Herbal Tea, Cinnamon, Salted Nuts, Aniseed, Licorice and Tobacco.



Finish:

Middle-Long/Long, mainly Sweet, Spicy & slightly Hot. The Sweetness becomes very Sugary after a few minutes. That's a real pity. I find Sweet Barley, slightly Burnt Toast, Vanilla, Dough, Salted Toffee, Heather-Honey, Green Apple, Pear, Lemon, Orange Peel, Grapefruit, Campfire Smoke, Wet Peat, Soot, Tar, Iodine, Cocoa Powder, Espresso, Herbal Tea, Pepper, Ginger, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Aniseed, Menthol, Licorice and Leather.

Drinking Advice:

Due to the small size of the sample I only tasted this AnCnoc neat.

Rating: 84

Nose: 21 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

The Peatheart was released in 2017 and at 40 PPM it's the peatiest Whisky by Knockdhu until now. It was named after the peat bogs surrounding Knockdhu which are described as the heart of Scottish peatlands.

The Peatheart is an interesting alternative if you like Young Islay malt. It's not very competitive though when compared to the likes of Ardbeg and Laphroaig. After having reviewed and tasted these three AnCnoc expressions I found two common problems that affect them all. The first one is the price. Knockdhu is not a very well-known distillery and their prices should be a little easier despite the fact that the remote location will likely increase their production/distribution costs. The second item relates to the body of Knockdhu Whisky. All three of the reviewed Whiskies show a slightly Thin body despite the correct ABV of the 18 Years and the Peatheart. I think this is something that the distillery should look at as it compromises the mouth feel of Knockdhu Single Malts. Other than that I truly believe that the characterful Whisky of this distillery could become a very good alternative for those who get thoroughly bored by today's Mainstream Malt Madness. We visited the distillery in May last year and I can totally recommend a visit. The number of visitors is still small and you will receive all the attention you need although the Visitor Centre is still rather simple. But the beautiful lay out of the distillery and its surroundings more than make up for that!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                February 3, 2020

All Pictures were taken during our visit in May 2019