AnCnoc Peat is a homage to their ancient ways as the Knochu distillery, one of the smallest and busiest in the highlands, celebrates its 125th anniversary. Matured in American oak ex-bourbon casks and finished in Spanish oak butts before being bottled at 46% ABV without any additional colouring or chill-filtration, with an outturn of just 500 bottles.
Appearance: Lager orange. A thick swirl mark with plenty of medium to thick trails. As the glass matures, the swirl line starts to bead and eventually becomes a series of uniform teardrops.
Nose: Quite gentle on the ethanol, even for 46% ABV. A lovely liquorice-infused BBQ smoke wafts up from the glass. This is closely followed by notes of toffee, fruit and nut chocolate, blackberries and a touch of light black pepper.
As the dram makes as too does the blackberry note. The peat element becomes a touch ashier after time.
There’s also a more vegetal note, like bramble hedgerows.
Palate: A pleasingly oily mouthfeel and immediate warming of the chest. A decent ‘hit’ from 46%. The fruit elements emerge first, shrouded in the sweet BBQ smoke.
A bitter note lingers in the background, it’s a tiny bit off-putting but faint, luckily.
Orange peel, nutmeg and gentle milk chocolate. Towards the end of the dram, the chocolate element really starts to come forward, adding a nice mellow sweetness.
Finish: The blackberry, black pepper and chocolate linger for a medium amount of time. That but more is also evident.
Overall: It’s very nice, well-balanced and with a nice smokey sweet flavour profile. I’m a big fan of the brand but would I buy it? Possibly not, given the alternatives at a fairly close price point.