Design outdoes the whiskey - this anCnoc release is very nice, and / but VERY unique. The design (see below) is fabulous. The scotch itself is wonderful in the right context. It is only 46% but tastes much stronger. Indeed, the sherry and the char of the cask almost crowd out the mature fruit in the tasting. This is a UK only release that sadly is not available in the US. Worth a try if visiting the UK.
Peter Arkle Project Background: Peter Arkle is a reknowned Scottish illustrator based in New York who has worked with some of the worlds biggest brands (Guinness, Nike, and Starbucks are just a few!) He has developed an exclusive range of limited edition designs for anCnoc, of which this is the first, which will be launched throughout 2012 and will be available in the UK, USA, Sweden and selected European markets. Royal Mile Whiskies are proud to be the exclusive UK retailer. While sipping his anCnoc, Peter found himself considering the ingredients: Yes, it’s made from malted barley, spring water (from the nearby Knock Hill), yeast, heat and the passing of a lot of time (ageing in a cask). However there’s another ingredient... something that can’t really be seen: something MAGIC! If you look carefully, you will see that Peter has captured all these ingredients in his design for this pack. The liquid inside is also very special. Selected by the Distillery Manager, Gordon Bruce, this Limited Edition is matured in Spanish oak sherry butts. Traditionally anCnoc is matured in American wood. This gives the whisky a darker colour and notes of dark spices and dried fruits.
Nose: Rich and spicy fruit cake aromas are complemented by creamy vanilla and pronounced sticky toffee. The middle note of freshly picked green apples is accentuated by just a touch of blood orange zest. Complex and satisfying.
Colour: Rich copper with amber highlights
Taste: Sun-dried raisins and honey explode on the palate, followed quickly by vanilla ice-cream with hot caramel sauce. The finish is round and long, on the dark side of the fruit.
I would only add that the nose gives away the sherry cask right away and has a ripe fruit aroma that is very powerful. The palate has distinct charred oak in it. It is a rich whisky that is best paired with hard cheeses and the like.