Preview tasting of AnCnoc 35 yo

ancnocLogo A few weeks ago i got an offer i could not say “no” to – Online preview tasting of a yet to be released, 35 year old (one year younger than me, which in whisky age is quite old) AnCnoc. I Immediately said “Yes!” and hopped on the bandwagon. Having previously liked the 12,16 and the 1996 vintage, i was pretty sure the guys at AnCnoc would also do a good job with this older expression. I was looking forward to the event, but i guess the whisky gods were frowning on me participating :). Courtesy of Lukasz of Allembic Comms and the EWB , i was sent a package via fedex in order for it to arrive promptly in time for the tasting. What can go wrong? well, everything!

You know when everything seems to be against you? that exactly what happened here. First, my sample got delayed by FedEx. They were supposed to deliver to my home address, but we’re all working right? and most of the day we’re not there. The day afterwards they were to call me on my free day and let me know when they are to deliver. I missed the call, and set delivery to the next Sunday (only two days before the event). As it turns out instead of calling me they left the package at the reception of the company i work for, and the silly office administrator “forgot” to notify me. I left work for a two day vacation (Israeli Independence day) only to find out that i’m not in the office anymore, and the package is. Hectic phone calls, and the package was picked by a colleague of mine who lives nearby. Ah, safe at last… Or , maybe not? I intended to pick it up from my colleague the next day, and when i arrived, he told me the package was in his car, which is now in another city having been taken by his wife… I nearly despaired. I kindly asked him to put it somewhere I can pick it up even when he’s out  (Remember, it’s Independence day here, everyone is out BBQing). So, at 1830 i arrived at his place, picked it up and drove happily home, Only to find out that both my wife and wee daughter are feeling bad, vomiting. I was sure that I was never going to make it to 1900 GMT (2100 Israel time), and happily wee Carmel went to sleep right before 21:00, so I could sit down, relax, make some tea for the wife, and nose my precious 35 year old dram. The whisky gods probably agreed they played enough games on me, and let me proceed with the twasting.

Background:

A few bits of information about this expression before we start (as this if not yet available, you can not find those little bits of info anywhere): The whisky is Un-chill filtered , Non-coloured , bottled at Cask strength – out the cask at 43% (this is fairly common in older whiskies, to be round 40ies % due to angel’s share) . As this was a preview version, the official bottling will probably be wee below 43%. The vatting includes both Ex-Bouron and Ex-Sherry casks, and a total of 1,400 bottles will be available worldwide (in about 4-5 months). More information is currently unavailable : Price is TBD, and so is the design of the case and bottle). It’s fairly early in the process.

AnCnoc 35 year old, 43%ABV , 1,400 bottles , price: TBD (available in about 4-5 months)

Nose: This dram really evolved as time went by. On first sniff i got some initial sweet notes with some woody furniture, it threw me back to the days i frequented an old library in the city i was born at. After a few more minutes it was all about baked apple with sultanas in the middle after the pits were removed, lovely. After five more minutes it’s even sweeter with honey suckle , and cinnamon gum, yes the one we did chew on while we were wee kids. ah, this whisky is a stroll down memory lane! Very complex, and ever changing as notes also by many of the other participants. Quite fresh, for its 35 year of age.

Palate: Starting with the cinnamon gum also here, peppery even, then off to sultanas, chocolate drenched in liquor bitter wood, and nuts, more like bitter nuts. I was not going to add any water (remember it’s already at 43%), but after a few recommendations from the guys at EWB and Marc from SA, i tried a few drops of water.and boy!, i was in for a treat. I suddenly got some amazing exotic fruit notes, mainly Papaya, in what i can only describe as chocolate covered papaya. Yummy!

Finish:The finish is quite long, with bitter chocolate, cocoa, and crushed nuts.

Bottom line:

This is indeed an excellent whisky. Old, but does not show signs of aging, Complex, but also sippable, and the nose, Mamma Mia! this is sublime stuff, and I am not just saying this because i got sent a free sample. It’s really good.  As this is going to be released in 4-5 months time, and the price has not been set yet, I would recommended it wholeheartedly, hoping the pricing will be fair.

Many thanks to Lukasz and AnCnoc for this lovely pre-release sample.

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