Last night I attended a Twitter tasting, which featured three expressions from the core range of anCnoc: the entry-level 12 Year Old, the recent anCnoc 2000 vintage and the really new anCnoc 18 Year Old.
anCnoc 12 Year Old is mostly matured in ex-bourbon wood, with a bit of ex-sherry casks mixed in, and therefore a classic example of anCnoc’s house style, with lots of barley sweetness, honey and citrus.
anCnoc 12 yo (40%, OB 2015)
Nose: a rather typical, bright and juicy fruitiness. Honeysuckle, sweet and sour (green) apples and plenty of floral honeys. Lemon meringue. Some berries too. Fairly light and naked but very attractive.
Mouth: same idea, though maybe a tad sweeter than expected, with much more weight to it. Sweet banana, hints of vanilla custard and a little caramel sweetness. A faint beer-like malty note too. Light spices (cinnamon), hints of mocha. Apples, but more like apple pie, without the bright top notes.
Finish: medium long, a mix of caramel, honey and subtle liquorice.
I’ve said it before, but I think this is a rather cracking entry-level whisky. Fairly light, but not weak. Very well made, with a price/quality ratio that’s almost impossible to beat. Usually € 35, sometimes as low as € 25 if you look around.
anCnoc 2000 was launched in September 2014 and it’s currently the only vintage alongside the premium 1975 vintage. Here the focus was more on Spanish oak ex-sherry butts (first-fill Oloroso) than on the American oak ex-bourbon barrels.
anCnoc 2000 (46%, OB 2014, 6.000 btl.)
Nose: much darker and much more sherry influence indeed. Toffee and plum compote, with a cocoa dusting. Hints of nougat and crème brûlée. Just a light citrusy tingle on top. Some grassy notes / dried hay as well.
Mouth: a sweet mix of vanilla and nutty notes (almonds, hazelnuts). Cocoa again. Hints of blackberries. Still a hint of citrus, as well as some pepper and nutmeg from the oak.
Finish: medium long, with lingering toffee and spices.
Good whisky again. None of the dirty notes that sometimes come with sherry maturation (e.g. in the anCnoc 1996). Around € 65.
anCnoc 18 Year Old is again a combination of European oak Oloroso casks and American oak ex-bourbon casks, all of which were second-fill.
anCnoc 18 yo (46%, OB 2014, 6.000 btl.)
Nose: the honey is more pronounced here, and the whole is more jammy and rounder, with some lovely blood oranges and kirsch. There’s cinnamon, sultanas and apricots, all a bit more subtle and elegant than the anCnoc 2000. A light leathery touch as well. Pretty complex.
Mouth: same feeling of elegance. Oily texture. Stewed fruits, including some gooseberries. Honey glazing and vanilla pastry. Fig jam. Becomes more spicy towards the end, with subtle exotic touches.
Finish: medium long, with peppery notes alongside the fruity sweetness.
Definitely my favourite in this line-up, up there with my favourite expression so far, the anCnoc 22 Year Old. Around € 85.