from today back to 1975
Posted on March 31, 2015
Following a recent tasting we held in London, our friend and renowned whisky blogger Dave Worthington of Whisky Discovery shared his thoughts on our oldest expression to date - Vintage 1975 - and how it links to our characterful new make spirit.
I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to taste anCnoc's oldest release to date, the 1975 Vintage. Just 1590 bottles have been filled for this limited edition, drawn from a mix of just three casks.
The anCnoc style is often described as creamy and fruity, perhaps due to its worm tub condenser used on both the wash and spirit stills. I've had the privilege to not only taste the 'new make' spirit, but have had the incredible experience of filling a cask at the distillery, breathing in those wonderful fruity aromas as the spirit vapours escape from the bung hole.
Nosing the 'new make' in a glass opens with the dustiness of a grain store which quickly yields that lemony zest which softens with hints of oranges. The grain store turns more stable with notes of straw after a little while
These same flavours can be found within the 1975 vintage, albeit subtly mellowed by time and oak.
On first pouring this rarest of anCnoc the nose opens with that familiar oiliness of artists pastels, a linseed oil quality that often accompanies aged whisky, it's a flavour that always draws me in to saviour each of the flavours as they evolve. Starting with gentle floral notes, a candy scent develops which was reminding me of 'Chewits' sweets of the 70's.
Thirty nine years in wood has softened that 'zesty' new make spirit into a rich and luxurious malt, which goes on to develop fruity notes reminiscent of a well matured Christmas cake; dried mixed fruits, candied peels, raisins and toasted almonds, which is complimented by soft spices; cassia and a hint of clove
With a taste that is smooth as velvet, that 'old malt' flavour associated with exceptional quality gives me immense pleasure. Layers of rich, slightly over ripe, figs coat the tongue, while flavours of soft leather and waxed wood intertwine with woody spices and just the hint of aniseed and an espresso coffee finish, dry as the wood tannins take over. A drop of water releases creamy vanilla notes, softened with muscavado sugar, dark marmalade and a rich toffee apple flavour maintain the balance of sweetness over the dry woody spices.
The empty glass the following morning (a habit of mine is to cover the empty glass at the end of the evening so I can return in the morning to see what's evolved) gave rich dark chocolate notes initially, but left to air for a short while and I'm being taken back to the new make stable notes albeit more earthy now.