Martin, a good friend of mine, recently asked me to help him set up a blog about whisky, his long-time passion. The result is available at WhiskyCritic.com (check it out!) and Martin will be writing monthly whisky reviews for CigarInspector.com. Enjoy!
An Cnoc (which was known as Knockdhu until 1994) has a history which I think summarises the Scottish way of thinking beautifully. John Morrison, who founded the distillery, discovered several springs at the bottom of Knock Hill. What was the first thing that came to mind upon discovering freshwater springs? Why, whisky, of course! And so he bought the land and opened a distillery, heartwarming stuff (poor pun very much intended, I’m almost ashamed to say). Like Aberlour, and many other distilleries, Knockdhu were forced to put production on hold during WW2 due to restrictions on barley supplies.
An Cnoc have decided to approach the market with a focus on being modern, almost a bit Americanised if you will, which sets them apart from most other Scottish distilleries who put heavy focus on tradition. While their whisky is indeed traditionally distilled, their website contains something as controversial as cocktail recipes – you wouldn’t find that on Laphroaig’s website. Now, me being a traditionalist myself, I’m not generally one to mix my whiskey with anything but ice or water – I leave that to the kids. That said, I did try the ‘Apple Mac’ (50ml An Cnoc, 30ml Ginger wine, topped with pressed apple) and I have to admit it was quite nice.
Inspired by the Apple Mac cocktail, I decided to make some homemade apple & whisky sauce – bloomin’ gorgeous! If you want to try it for yourself, I used a basic apple sauce recipe from James Martin which I found on the BBC website and added 50ml An Cnoc during step 1 in the recipe. Try it in a roast pork sandwich, it’s to die for.
I have, of course, tried it neat as well. The nose is elegant with a peachy, heathery sweetness and hints of citrus/orange and herbs. On the palate there are hints of chewy toffee, vanilla and haulm – as well as what you would expect from the nose. A decent whisky by all means, but nothing spectacular.
Eye: Medium golden.
Nose: Elegant, peach, heather, citrus and herbs.
Palate: Same as nose with added hints of vanilla, toffee and haulm.