Thursday, August 18, 2011

Two Speysiders (anCnoc and Mannochmore) + 1 Highlander

Today let's have a look at the distillery expressions of two lesser known Speyside distilleries which don't have much coverage here in Singapore. Nevertheless, their presence here is very much encouraging, and let's hope the brands keep on coming! The two brands are anCnoc (Knockdhu) and Diageo workhorse Mannochmore. Both expressions are 12YOs, so this should be an interesting head to head to see if the Speyside 'Style' is present in both.

Name: anCnoc 12YO
Distillery: anCnoc (or Knockdhu) (Speyside)
Type: Single Malt Scotch
Age Statement: 12YO
Alc/Vol: 40%

The distillery of anCnoc or Knockdhu is located in Huntly, Aberdeenshire near the East side of Speyside. As one would notice by now, it goes by the name of Knockdhu. The reason for the change was to avoid confusion with another Whisky Distillery in Scotland, Knockando, also a Speyside distillery. Under the ownership of Inver House, anCnoc saw a re-branding in 2003, so this is the new look whisky coming out of the distillery since the ownership change. Let's see how it fares.

Nose: Pleasant nose with a very classic honey and spice notes. Honey, ginger orange spiciness, apples and some lemon. Little hints of vanilla, malt and eucalyptus as well. Pretty straightforward though (20)

Taste/Palate: Extremely woody and with bitter and burnt notes on the palate. Burnt nuts, dark roasted malt (like those used in Stout), burnt sugars. Hints of ginger, dried bark, honey, hibiscus flowers and some beer. Overly burnt for me sadly (18)

Finish: Slight licorice, more beer notes as well and a hint of fresh barley. Not too long lasting in my opinion. (18)

Overall: It is pleasant on the nose but I think the roasted notes are a tad too overpowering on the palate. Overall, the whisky is quite straightforward as a dram (19) 75/100

Found at: Drinks Fellas

Name: Mannochmore Flora and Fauna 12YO
Distillery: Mannochmore (Speyside)
Type: Single Malt Scotch
Age Statement: 12YO
Alc/Vol: 43%

The distillery of Mannochmore is one of Diageo's workhorse distilleries, with most of its whisky production going to the drink behemoth's blends. Interestingly enough, it is also the distillery responsible for what is popularly known as the worst whisky ever produced, Loch Dhu Black Whisky. Its black colour and offensive profile has led Johannes Van Den Heuvel, the leader of the Malt Maniacs, to name it 'Aqua Crematoria'. Thankfully this 12YO Flora and Fauna expression, which was released by Diageo to showcase the 'house style' of its many workhorse distilleries, is very much different in style.

Nose: Malty, fruity and honied. Fresh barley water, fresh green pears, fragrant pears and apricots. A hint of raisins and grapes. Light, fruity and overall very pleasant! (21)

Taste/Palate: Notes of pear continue on entry with (interestingly) a light hint of peat. Oak and light creamy nuttiness as well. It continues with notes of malt and a touch of honey. (20)

Finish: Malty at the end with rich barley sugars and some oak. A pretty simple finish (19)

Overall: All in all this is a very drinkable and pleasant whisky. Nothing too exciting, but this is one that will go down easily when drank amongst friends or on a hot day. (20) 81/100

Found at: Auld Alliance, Quaich Bar

Last but not least, let's add in a bonus! Glengoyne is a distillery whose whiskies I've always wanted to try. Fiercely proud of their traditions like air drying their malted barley (meaning no peat at all!) and using the famous but notoriously low-yielding Golden Promise barley, this distillery should promise much... I hope!

Name: Glengoyne 17YO
Distillery: Glengoyne (Highlands)
Type: Single Malt Scotch
Age Statement: 17YO
Alc/Vol: 43%

Glengoyne distillery is an interesting distillery due in part to its locality. Located very near Glasgow (which is home to the Lowland distillery Auchentoshan), it is nevertheless classified as a Highland distillery, so their style should maybe be a mix of both? I'm skeptical about classifying all Highland malts under one style, so I'll rather try this with no pre-conceived notions of what it should taste like.

Nose: Full of honey, pear drops and vanilla. Extremely pleasant and rich. These are accompanied with hints of saltiness, oak and the artificial sweetness found in sweets. (21)

Taste/Palate: The fruity, oaky and honied notes continue on the palate with hints of banana, Manuka honey and marmalade. Loads of warm spice like ginger and licorice. Extremely pleasant. (21)

Finish: Creamy and malty with hints of very light white bread, barley and Chinese Malt Candy (麦芽糖 for those who know what this sweet is!) I also get a hint of a light flour candy I ate as a child! Interesting. It's not powerful but it is certainly pleasant (22)

Overall:  I really did enjoy this whisky, it's pleasant and is very enjoyable. Definitely worth a try I must say (21) 85/100

Found at: Auld Alliance


  1. You will be impressed, we are selling Glengoyne 21yo at our online stall with the cheapest price in town.

  2. Glengoyne is an interesting Whisky. I discovered them through a Limited Edition Scottish Oak Wood Finish about 10 years back. It was a 17 year old 53.5% and about 5,000 bottles. I still have 2 bottles in storage back in the UK.. Good review of the 17 YO.