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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

anCnoc 24 year old

Knockdhu distillery (home of anCnoc single malt) restarted production in 1989, after a six year closure. Like Arran and their 25yo, Knockdhu rightly stashed away some of those early casks for a future well-aged release. Those casks resulted in the early batches of this 24 year old whisky.

I try to check in on anCnoc single malt every couple of years. The 18yo and Cutter are very good, and the 12yo (43%abv edition) is pretty solid. Their marketing budget seems to be on the lean side and bottle flippers tend to stay away.

With a little bit of research, one can find the 24 year old selling for only 30% more than the 18 year old (in Europe), a price point that harkens back to cheaper days of yore. I had been considering blind-buying the whisky just when Dr. Springbank brought me a sample from his bottle.

Distillery: Knockdhu
Owner: Inver House Distillers (via Thai Beverages plc via International Beverage Holdings Ltd.)
Region: border of Speyside and Western Highlands
Age: minimum 24 years
Maturation: sherry casks and bourbon casks
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chill-filtration? No
Caramel colored? No
(Thank you to Dr. Springbank for the sample!)


The nose is heavy on the sherry casks, and I do mean HEAVY. There's some lumber in there with the prunes, dried cherries, chocolate and anise. It develops smaller notes of carob bark, walnuts and pecans with time, gradually getting rootier and earthier. It shifts styles once reduced to 40%abv turning into nuts, toffee and baking spices. That's it, but it's spot on.

The palate has plenty of sherry cask influence, but there's less outright oak than on the nose. More oak spice than pulp. Honey, lime, minerals and a slight pepperiness make up the rest. It gets slightly nuttier and floral at 40%abv.

The finish feels limited to heat, roots and dried berries. Once diluted to 40%abv, it matches the 40%abv palate.


In the Taste Off between the anCnoc 24 and Arran 25, the Arran showed better balance and finish, though the anCnoc may have taken dilution better. I'm on the fence about the anCnoc's palate. Part of me enjoyed its restraint, while another part of me wanted something more from it, like more fruit or nuts or earth. Perhaps oxidation would bring something else out. Though it seems like I'm giving it a slagging, the 24yo is a good whisky and fairly priced. It just doesn't rise to must-have levels for me.

Availability - Available at many whisky specialists across Europe, and a few in the US
Pricing - €120-€170 in Europe, $220-$260 in the US
Rating - 84 (when diluted)