Whisky Review: anCnoc Peter Arkle Limited Edition

Today I’m taking a look at a single malt whisky from the Knockdhu Distillery—anCnoc Peter Arkle Limited Edition. First let’s talk about the name “anCnoc” (pronounced “a-nock”). In Gaelic, anCnoc means “the hill.” Why is the ‘C’ in the middle of the word capitalized (but the ‘a’ isn’t)? Well, I assume that in Gaelic, the name is actually two words (“an Cnoc”—and I’ve seen it spelled that way on a few other websites), but that’s just a guess. I haven’t managed to find a definitive answer to the question, so if you know the answer, please let me know. What I do know is that on their website and on their whisky labels, they spell their name as “anCnoc” and I will do the same.

So why does the Knockdhu Distillery name their whisky as “anCnoc” instead of simply calling it Knockdhu? Well that I can answer. Knockdhu used to release whisky labeled as Knockdhu, but they decided that their name was too similar to another Scottish distillery—Knockando—and so they decided to change their name in order to avoid confusion. Can’t really blame them for that, Knockdhu and Knockando are awfully similar.

In 2012 anCnoc teamed up with Scots born illustrator Peter Arkle to launch a series of “limited edition” whiskies, this being one of them. There have been several Peter Arkle releases; this is the “Casks” version of the series. 

This is a no age statement (NAS) whisky that was matured in “American and Spanish oak barrels” (per the anCnoc website).

So how does this one taste? Let’s take a look…

Type: Single Malt Scotch
Region: Speyside
ABV: 46%
Non chill-filtered

Nose: Big on fresh, light fruits—green apples, pears, peaches. Like walking through an orchard. Some citrus fruits too. There’s also a good amount of vanilla, butterscotch, and brown sugar, indicating this was aged mostly in bourbon barrels. Not the most complex nose, but really quite nice.

Palate: The taste is a continuation of the nose, but subdued.  The pear is particularly prominent, but the other fruits are now more in the background. There is a good amount of maltiness and barley sugar. Some astringent oak. Ethanol. Heather. Honey. The arrival is pretty nice, but the backend turns a touch bitter, exposing youth. Ultimately the palate doesn’t quite live up to the nose, although it is fairly pleasant.

Finish: Short. Almost nonexistent. Pear. Oak. Astringent. Fades fast.

Overall: The nose is good, but the palate is fairly mediocre (not bad, but nothing special). The finish, or lack there of, really drags this down. The overall outcome is that this is a very average whisky, and my score reflects that. It’s not bad, but it’s not good either. If I were to come to your house and you served me this, I’d happily drink it, but it’s not something I’d seek out or be likely to buy again. That said, I think the base spirit is quite good, and all this whisky really needs is more time in a barrel. If the finish was even half decent, my score would be several points higher. In no way has this whisky turned me off to other anCnoc bottlings—quite the opposite. I really would like to see how this spirit does with some more substantial (and known) age.

Buy Again? Nah.

Score: 76/100

Questions about my scoring system? Refer to the Review Method & Scoring Scale page. 

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