An Cnoc 1994

An CnocAn Cnoc is the name of the malt produced at the Knockdhu distillery. They’ve apparently switched the brand name of the malt between Knockdhu and An Cnoc a number of times. Since the early 2000s, when they re-launched the line, it’s been An Cnoc. The desire is suposedly to avoid confusion with the Knockando distillery. The possibility of confusion seems mostly academic to me, really, as Knockando barely put out any malt either and are probably no better known to the general populace. The greater true confusion may be whether this distillery is in the Speyside (which is where a number of people put it) or in the Highlands (which is where the Scotch Whisky Association puts is). The whisky itself is less confusing; I’ve only had a few and they’ve all presented simple, direct pleasures: none approaching greatness, all solid. That includes this 1994 vintage release from 2008.

An Cnoc 1994-2008 (46%; from a reference sample saved from my own bottle)

Nose: Malt, something grassy, a little milk chocolate. With time there’s some dark honey and some caramel apple (apples dipped in caramel–is this an American thing?); also something a little bit metallic. Water brings out some citrus (oranges).

Palate: Sweet. Caramel and malt and milk chocolate. Also, an unexpected lick of smoke. A little bit of citrus as well. Somewhat watery despite being bottled at 46% –they woudn’t have chill-filtered it at 46%, would they? My bottle’s long gone and I don’t remember if the label said anything about that. Let’s add a drop of water anyway: well, water pulls out a little more of the citrus, but I don’t know that it’s necessary.

Finish: Medium. Nothing new. A not very pleasant bitterness remains on the sides of my tongue. And then the grassy/celery note from the nose makes an appearance. Not a good way to end.

Comments: Was heading for the mid-80s but the finish dragged it down. Still, it’s not bad by any means and would probably be very good with some chocolate. The lick of smoke on the palate is something that’s not in the 12 yo and 16 yo in general US release; on the whole, though, I prefer the 16 yo to this. Now, has anyone had an An Cnoc that cnocked their socks off?

Rating: 83 points.

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