Whisky Review: anCnoc Cutter
Category: Speyside single malt scotch whisky
Origin: Knockdhu distillery
Bottling: Inver House
Cost: £52.00 buy from Master of Malt
What they say:
The latest expression from anCnoc’s collection of limited edition peated malts was unveiled in Edinburgh last night, as whisky enthusiasts gathered under cover of darkness to share a midnight dram of the smoky new single malt.
anCnoc ‘Cutter’ is officially released to the global market today (1st September), but as the clock chimed to greet the 1st September launch date last night, an intimate group of anCnoc friends and fans stayed up late at the city’s Last Word bar to enjoy a first taste and toast the arrival of this much anticipated new release.
anCnoc launched its peated collection earlier this year with three expressions of varying peat strength – ‘Rutter’, ‘Flaughter’ and ‘Tushkar’ – aiming to help drinkers find a peaty dram to suit their palate and to ‘shine a light’ on the dark, enigmatic world of peat.
With drinkers embracing the new collection , the ‘Cutter’ launch marks the start of a new anCnoc tradition which will see a new peated expression unveiled every year on 1st September, alongside a midnight celebration of anCnoc’s dark and mysterious side.
‘Cutter’ is the most peated of anCnoc’s single malts to date, with a phenol content of 20.5 PPM (parts per million). Light gold in appearance, it has an intense, thick and oily smoke structure on the nose which reveals a sharper, more medicinal phenolic layer with a piercing burst of fruity ripe peaches and just a touch of oak. It has an ashy taste, with slight apple-core bitterness and notes of leather and spicy vanilla lingering at the back, accompanied by sharper notes of pink grapefruit and ripe orchard fruits. A long, elegant finish brings a kaleidoscope of spicy and peaty notes that die out with a juicy burst and a loud call for another sip.
The new whisky’s traditional yet contemporary packaging retains the striking dark green glass bottle of the first peated releases but this time features a traditional ‘cutter’ peat tool emblazoned in silver on the pack’s distinctive black label and tube design.
anCnoc Assistant Brand Manager Stephanie Bridge commented: ‘Given the popularity of anCnoc as a contemporary, easy drinking malt whisky, we are thrilled with the reception our new dark, peaty side has had amongst drinkers since we launched the collection back in April this year. We wanted anCnoc’s peated malts to find their way to the many people out there who love whisky but think that peat is not for them, and initial feedback shows that we are starting to build the appeal of a peated dram amongst our drinkers which is good news. We are delighted to have Cutter join this exquisite collection, bringing a slightly smokier, stronger peated option that has all the quality, character and taste that every whisky made at Knockdhu distillery enjoys. The 1st September is now officially anCnoc Peaty day and a date to put in the diaries of whisky fans in years to come.’
2000 cases of anCnoc ‘Cutter’will be available online and in specialist and independent UK whisky retailers from 1st September, rrp£52. Cutter is bottled at 46% ABVand in its most natural state – neither chill-filtered nor coloured.
What I say:
At 12 midnight on the stroke of the 1st of September, with the Edinburgh end of festival fireworks display still ringing in our ears, a group of inquisitive whisky afficonados (whiskyphiles if you like) gathered in the darkened hush of The Last Word to experience the launch of the latest in AnCnoc’s peaty range.
Cutter – the latest in the AnCnoc peaty range is the peatiest so far; malted to around 50 ppm phenol and retaining around 20.5 ppm phenol in the bottle. The barley is malted using peat from the St Fergus peat bog at Blackhills on the Aberdeenshire coast. Working hard to obtain as much spirit as they can, the staff at Knockdhu distillery have braved the harsher peated malt, notorious for yielding much less alcohol per tonne of malted barley and producing noxious (more phenolic) by-products. They have attempted to achieve a reproducibility in their distillation and targeted the Croesol (2-Methoxyphenol) type phenolic compounds delivering that medicinal iodine and smoky wood rather than the Guaiacol-like compounds more associated with smoky spicy meaty flavours. The resultant peaty influence has an almost menthol-like quality which incorporates well with the light fruity AnCnoc spirit and their dedication to Bourbon cask maturation.
Light/pale gold (apparently – it was a little too dark to see!)
Damp moss and wet peat bog, floral violets, citrus lemon and lime foam, sweet oil-seed rape honey
Smokey medicinal peat, iodine, Elastoplast and TCP vapours, parma violet sweeties with a little rose water sugar syrup, some cinnamon spice
Long, cleansing (antiseptic?) citrus fruits, mildly spiced and ashen peat (like a spent brushwood campfire early the following morning)
Yes, this is a very interesting expression clearly not trying to be Islay-like but actually well thought out and constructed perfectly. The menthol like medicinal peaty quality sits like a high vaporous note on top of the sweet bourbon-matured AnCnoc spirit backbone. I’d actually really like to try this on ‘victims’ of blind tastings as it is so unlike any Islay or similar peated Island or Highland single malt that I have tried before. I suspect many people on blind-tasting may even guess (incorrectly of course) that this is from somewhere other than Scotland perhaps?
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