Single malt whisky - tasting notes

21 May 2012

anCnoc distillery visit

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in * Distillery visits|AnCnoc

Knock DhuI should have written Knockdhu distillery of course (or Knock Dhu), but the name anCnoc is better known. Knockdhu is the distillery and anCnoc the name of the whisky. I believe it was introduced a couple of years ago to avoid confusion with Knockando.

Knockdhu, like many other distilleries, started as a typical farm distillery in 1893. There’s still a kiln with malting floor on site, but it isn’t used any more, as most of the plant is now fairly modern and highly energy-efficient.

In the near future, it will also be more ecological, thanks to the creation of a couple of ponds that will filter the different kinds of liquid residues of the distillery. Specific plants will make sure they are turned back into clear water. It’s cost-saving and good for our planet, a win-win situation!


New warehouses at KnockdhuTwo of their warehouses collapsed during the winter of 2010 and had to be knocked down completely. They’ve now been rebuilt in a traditional way (dunnage style, wooden structure), they look quite stunning and they’re ready to be filled.

Distillery manager Gordon Bruce (always surrounded by his dogs Meg and Tosca) is a very dedicated man. He may seem a bit silent at first but once you get him started – especially on all kinds of technical bits and pieces – he’ll happily give you every little detail you wanted to know.


anCnoc 35 yearsJust like at Balblair distillery, more and more peated spirit is produced at Knockdhu, well over 25% this year. With the current single malt hype, Islay distilleries are increasingly reluctant to sell their newmake to third parties, and most blenders require a certain amount of peated spirit to spice up their products. Gordon wasn’t very clear on this, but I think a peated anCnoc expression could see the light in the future (though maybe not the immediate future). We were able to try some peated cask samples (e.g. a heavily peated 5yo) and they were really good, too good to be blended away actually.

The best surprise was a sample of a 1982 bourbon cask, very fresh and full of gooseberries, coconut, honey-coated barley and ginger. Some vanilla and floral notes as well. Simply excellent.

A couple of days ago, the new anCnoc 35 years old expression was released, bottled at cask strength 44,3%, matured in both bourbon and sherry casks and available for around € 250. I’ve heard it’s quite good, let’s hope we’ll be able to taste it in the near future.

anCnoc distillery visit Ruben Luyten 2012-05-21
  • Gal(WhiskyIsrael)

    Ruben, you did not sample the 30 year old there? also missing some tasting notes from the Arkle bottle. 😉
    Gordon is a “silent” talker as seinfeld suggests, but a very nice man. still driving that red car?

  • WhiskyNotes

    We didn’t sample the 30yo 1975 at the distillery but I tried it about a year ago. Peter Arkle notes are coming up tomorrow.



July 2015
« Jun    

  • WhiskyNotes: Good point Diego, it's important to coat the glass with whisky indeed. It helps it to evaporate and bring out the aromas, and take away the residuals
  • Diego Sandrin: i agree, N.5. The way i use it is i fill it up 2cl and then put it flat (horizontal) on the table, don't fill it more than 2cl or it will spill out, a
  • Basidium: I am partial to the Glencairn Crystal Canadian Whisky Glass as it is closer to what I am used to in a standard whiskey tumbler. It still narrows the t

Coming up

  • Bunnahabhain 1980 (Eiling Lim)
  • Balmenach 2001 (Liquid Treasures)
  • Auchentoshan Heartwood
  • Elements of Islay Lp6
  • Glenlivet 1981 for TWE
  • Strathisla 1948/1961
  • Benromach 15 Years

1820 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.