What was the occasion: While healing I haven’t had the energy to properly enjoy a whisky. Add to that pain drugs shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol and thus I haven’t been reviewing. That all said, maybe it’s all mental. So on a day where the pain was low and I had some energy, I decided to test myself.
I was able to finish the review, albeit with help from my wife to take the picture. Then I crashed hard, so reviews get a bit sparse until my bones decide to finish healing. Then my muscles come back. And perhaps the four horsemen ride again, as it feels like I’m waiting for Godot at this point.
What whisky did we review? anCnoc (Knockdhu) 16 2006 WhiskySponge is a single cask Scotch from Knockdhu distillery. Never had a Knockdhu? I had that reaction, until I realised that Knockdhu is the name of the distillery that anCnoc is made at. Not confusing at all. Totally not going to be confused with Knockando, what with those two words being totally different.
Granted I come from a country with two football teams that were named Roughriders when there were less than a dozen teams total, so perhaps I should avoid throwing stones in my glass house.
So this is anCnoc that’s been aged 16 years in a refill hogshead and bottled at cask strength.
What’s the distillery? Knockdhu distillery makes peated and unpeated whisky released under the anCnoc name. Why? Because another distillery is named Knockando. No relation, the two distilleries could bang if they wanted.
As opposed to other distilleries, Knockdhu actually came back to life in the 80s. Like others though, it had closed down in that year. From my personal experience you don’t see too many releases outside of original bottlings or the odd single cask at a store.
What’s my bias? Fun story time: As I said, I was in quite a bit of pain, just trying to get back into a hobby I enjoy. I completely forgot that Knockdhu makes anCnoc. I literally messaged a buddy through the pain to ask if they ever peat whiskies at Knockdhu.
You can literally scroll down and see three peated anCnocs I’ve reviewed.
So… Bias is a bit weird here. On the one hand, I write my notes and score while drinking. Then I write this review up after based on notes I have, aka write drunk, edit sober.
Thus no bias at the time of reviewing, but bias after the fact, because while I’ve had anCnoc that’s good, the majority have been a pass for me. I’m not a Highland region fan of Scotch. I like the head distiller who was there a decade ago. So I have thoughts on it.
Not this time though, because my brain was just trying to make sure I didn’t die. So let’s see how this “blind” review went, shall we?
Edition No: 63
Cask type: Refill Hogshead
Number of bottles: 321
Colour: 5Y 9/2
Nose: Plantains, brine, salty caramel, pear
There’s a slight fruitiness but it’s overpowered by a starch smell to this, along with salt and caramel. It’s like someone tried to make fried plantains but thought they would be like fried bananas as a dessert.
It kinda works? I like salt and sweet, but the starch note is kinda rough.
Taste: Cinnamon apple, anise, root beer, simple syrup, brine
That’s an odd switch. Good news, the starch note doesn’t continue into the taste. It’s very sweet though. A bit of funk to the taste, some additional salt, and a lot of sugar. We’re talking “typical American dessert” levels of sweet notes, and it gets a bit much. Which is saying something, as I’m someone with a preference towards sweet flavours.
Also there’s aspects that taste underdone. Like a raw sugar note.
Finish: Earthy, anise, leafy, salt
Now to focus on earth and no sweets! You know when a car skids a bit and the person over corrects and drives into a ravine? Yeah, it feels a bit like that. I don’t mind it, I find it closer to the finish you get on a fennel salad, but it’s very odd. And really simple.
Conclusion: Sweet, salt, and smoke. Needed to stay in the cask longer. I get the feeling this could have kept going.
Maybe someone enjoyed the taste so much and didn’t want to lose some of the interesting aspects to it. Maybe they didn’t want to finish it in a new cask. Maybe it’s not for people like me. Maybe they needed to release the cask and make room for future development.
Maybe they couldn’t remember a peat harvesting tool, thus not being able to name it.
Should you pick this up? I don’t think I’d recommend it. This is where my bias kicks in though: The anCnoc that I’ve really, really enjoyed are either discontinued or limited edition. So if you’re already into anCnoc hardcore, then there’s a really good chance you’ve already had the great anCnocs and own them. Thus this would add to your collection.
And if you’re not really into anCnoc, this isn’t going to change your mind, unless you’ve vastly different from me.
So it’s an alright, if too sweet, whisky that I’d probably skip.
Scotch review #1622, Highland review #273, Whisky Network review #2350