I already mentioned the likeliness of peated anCnoc expressions after I visited the distillery in May 2012. We even got to try a sample of a batch distilled around 2005 and I was pleasantly surprised by its qualities. In 2012 more than 25% of the distillery production was peated spirit, so we can expect more of this.
Rutter, Flaughter and Tushkar may seem strange words for outsiders, but they relate to traditional tools used in peat cutting – types of shovels that are also pictured on the labels. Each tool is used to take away different layers of peat and these separate types of peat result in different flavour profiles.
Although they don’t carry age statements, most of the casks used were laid down between 2004 and 2006.
None of them follow the trend of extreme peating levels, even Tushkar is only medium smoky. I think this is the right choice: anCnoc has a typically gentle profile that could be easily overwhelmed by too much peaty power.
anCnoc Rutter and anCnoc Flaughter will be available world-wide while anCnoc Tushkar will only be sold in Sweden.
anCnoc Rutter (46%, OB 2014, 11 ppm)
Matured in ex-bourbon casks.
Nose: Initially lots of lemon, with smoky notes in the background. Rather fruity with some barbecued pineapple. Nice minty notes and spicy gingerbread. Orange peel and fragrant hints of bergamot oil. Some youngish notes (pear drops).
Mouth: quite oily and fairly light-bodied, with fruit candy (apple and banana sweets), moving towards bubblegum. Biscuits and spicy notes (ginger), with just enough peat to keep you happy. Honey and creamy vanilla from the wood. Very creamy overall actually.
Finish: medium long, with most of the flavours fading a bit too soon maybe.
A nice whisky, good balance between the light, creamy distillery character and subtle smoke. Above average complexity as well (even though the typical pear drops and bubblegum can’t hide its youth). This is summer peat, not the usual winter. Around € 65.
(46%, OB 2014, 14,8 ppm)
Matured in American oak casks, including rejuvenated hogsheads (de-char / re-char).
Nose: this one comes across much tighter. A lot of the juicy fruits and vanilla are taken out and replaced with more mineral notes. More earthy sharpness rather than more warm smoke. Linseed oil and aniseed. Lemon peel. Buttered toast. Floral notes again. Some honey.
Mouth: more peat now (and it keeps growing in the glass) which seems to limit the complexity. Plenty of malty notes and mint. Still some fruit candy (going towards lokum). Honey. Lightly burnt meaty notes over time.
Finish: long, with more of the sweet peat keeping strong.
This one is less to my liking. It’s more narrow and more robust. For me, it also shows less of the typical anCnoc character. Peatheads may prefer this one, but I don’t see the point in faking Islay whisky. Same price. Score: 82/100
anCnoc Tushkar (46%, OB 2014, 15 ppm)
A Swedish exclusive.
Nose: yet a different kind of peatiness. More complex and integrated again. Warm smoke without the minerality and much subtler again. Trademark honey and fruity notes (pear jelly and mixed fruit tea). Hints of dried coconut flakes and wax. Something of wheat beer. Very interesting.
Mouth: back to the creaminess of butter popcorn. Fruit jellies. Big vanilla. Some almonds. A slight meatiness as well as refreshing lemon sherbet. Simple but really enjoyable.
Finish: long, with warm peat and gentle spices.
A well-deserved second place. It’s more like Rutter in highlighting the distillery character, but it integrates more peat at the same time. Probably slightly more expensive due to the Swedish tax policy?