November Whisky of the Month:
Another legendary malt that’s sadly discontinued, anCnoc 16 Year Old now only exists in our members’ collections. Join The Club now for exclusive access to more exciting drams like this each month and great member perks.
Country of Origin:
The Knockdhu Distillery was established in 1893 after an enterprising gentleman named John Morrison uncovered a spring on Knock Hill’s southern slopes and, as luck would have it, the water was of excellent quality. The Distillers’ Company made an offer for the land and in May 1893 put up the Knockdhu Distillery. The Knockdhu Distillery is near the village of Knock in Banffshire and thus conveniently near Knock Station on the Banff line of the Great North of Scotland Railway, a great advantage in those days. Finally, in addition to great water and excellent transport links, Knockdhu Distillery is also located in an area noted for excellent barley and an abundant source of high quality peat. All of this together made for a golden opportunity to produce a golden dram and deliver it to lovers of whisky throughout the land.
Knockdhu has changed hands a few times over the years. It remained in the hands of The Distiller’s Company from 1893 until 1930 when it was transferred to Scottish Malt Distillers. During it’s time with Scottish Malt Distillers, Knockdhu was closed in 1931 and 1932 and for the Second World War, and during this time the buildings were used to accommodate soldiers from India. Current owners Inver House acquired it in 1988 and released the first official Knockdhu bottling two years later. The first anCnoc bottling was released in 1993.
Pronounced “a knock” and meaning “the hill” in Scot Gaelic, the AnCnoc name was adopted to avoid confusion between Knockdhu and the nearby Knockando Distillery in 1994. anCnoc’s current owners Inverhouse call this distillery a modern tradition, blending traditional methods and equipment with modern and contemporised packaging, producing innovative and benchmark whiskies across a number of varying styles. The two originally designed stills remain ensuring the whiskies carry the same quality and distinctive flavour profiles as was first tasted more than 100 years ago.
About anCnoc single malt whisky:
With production around 900,000 litres per annum, AnCnoc produce a variety of traditional yet eclectic styles appealing to wide demographic of drinkers. Age statement, Single Vintage and Non Age Statement releases all form part of the AnCnoc stable and the “men of Knock” as they are known, apply a hefty mix of traditional and contemporary with deft elegance across the AnCnoc spectrum of Single Malts they produce. Recent Non Age Statement bottlings have been released in collaboration with acclaimed Scottish-born and New York-based artist Peter Arkle who was commissioned to provide three label interpretations that reflected the AnCnoc style, ethic and aesthetics at the site. Click here to watch Peter’s video of the distillery. These three releases were all limited edition and a mix of 100% ex-Sherry cask maturation, 100% ex-Bourbon cask & 50%/50% maturation of both casks. The most recent releases again saw three expressions all of Non Age Statement however, these all carry differing levels of peating. Success has also come with intensely interesting Single Vintage whiskies including a number of expressions from the nineties and a spectacular 1975 vintage.
The core expressions of 12YO, 16YO & 22 YO reflect the contemporary style of AnCnoc and the 12YO is possibly one of the best examples of superb entry point whisky, with rave reviews in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible with a score of 94/100 purely based on quality of spirit… Not bad for a 40%ABV chill-filtered whisky. The very elegant 16YO expression is a step into the next spectrum of AnCnoc, non-chill filtered, bottled at 46% ABV & matured solely and exclusively in re-fill American ex Bourbon casks. The parent company Inverhouse owns a number of distilleries in Scotland such as Old Pulteney, BalBlair & Speyburn also from the Speyside region, and this collectively provides great resources in terms of cask procurement and sees them source barrels from a variety of American Whiskey distilleries such as Heaven Hill & Jack Daniels to name a couple. Equally they have contractual arrangements with some of Spain’s most respected Sherry Bodegas to acquire the expensive and sought after Spanish casks. Interestingly Sweden is anCnoc’s biggest market by a long shot.
Age on release:
Wholly matured in American Oak Re-Fill ex Bourbon Hogsheads allowing the characteristic intense citrus notes to shine through. anCnoc 16 Years Old has been bottled in it’s most natural form, as it’s neither chill-filtered nor coloured. As a result, it may develop a light haze with the addition of water or if kept at a cold temperature. This haze is a natural characteristic of whisky that is unchill-filtered. There are currently 3 warehouses at Knockdhu. One racked warehouse and one 2 story dunnage warehouse. The dunnage warehouse has the optimum conditions for maturing Scotch whisky. Thick walls made from the local granite ensure a very stable temperature in the depth of winter, sometimes minus 20 degrees Centigrade outside. The low roofs and earth floors keep the humidity very high, however water enters the cask due to the high humidity, hence the strength will drop during maturation. The 3 current warehouses hold 6000 casks and the opening of the rebuilt one will add capacity to store a further 1400 casks.
anCnoc quick facts
Region: Highlands (Though technically located in east Speyside on the Highlands borders, anCnoc’s style is more similar to that of Highland whisky and therefore the distillery identifies itself as a Highland malt)
Place of origin: Knock, by Huntly, Aberdeenshire, AB5 5LI, Scotland, United Kingdom
Water source: Knock Hill spring and Ternemney Brook
Number of stills: 1 wash and 1 spirit
Capacity: 1,700,000 litres of alcohol per annum
Colour: Straw gold with sparkling white gold edges
Nose: Bursts of citrus and confection soften to expose fragrant vanilla honey notes
Palate: Citrus zest with hints of spice warm the tongue to what is an explosion of stick to your teeth toffee that follows
Finish: Finishes long and lingers well, which leaves you looking for a second sip of this addictive vanilla toffee laced dram
Honey cured smoked salmon