Spirit of the Week: anCnoc Peatheart

Initially launched as part of the brand’s ‘Peaty’ series, Peatheart joined anCnoc’s core range at the end of 2017. Produced at the Knockdhu distillery in Aberdeenshire, on the border of the Highlands and Speyside whisky regions, anCnoc Peatheart is named after the peat bogs surrounding the distillery, described as the heart of Scotland’s peatlands.

Joining a portfolio of renowned expressions such as the 12, 18 and 24-year-old, Peatheart is marketed as a ‘heavily peated’ Scotch whisky, produced in a setting with an abundance of natural resources suited to whisky production. Established in 1894, the Knockdhu Distillery is situated in the shadow of Knock Hill, home to pure water springs, as well as being located within reach of a region rich in barley and peat. In this expression, the barley is peated to 40ppm (phenol parts per million), almost evocative of typically peaty Islay expressions using barley that’s peated to upwards of 55ppm. Owned by Inver House Distillers – who changed the name of Knockdhu’s malt produced, in 1994 – the distillery’s malt tends to be light (sweet, even) with delicate floral and citrus notes.

Recipient of a Silver Award at IWSC 2018, anCnoc Peatheart is matured for 10 years in American Oak barrels previously used to produce bourbon, non chill-filtered and bottled at 46 per cent ABV in a distinctively modern black bottle. With a natural pale amber complexion, Peatheart’s nose opens up with a blast of smoke, followed by some creamy citrus notes, sweet vanilla and golden syrup; plus orchard fruits such as baked apples and ripe pear. A slight tobacco aroma has underlying presence alongside some floral allusions.

On the palate, the whisky is less omnipotently peaty than expected, joined with a whisper of honey and Assam tea. Black pepper savours are also present alongside some more vanilla, continuing orchard fruits and some feint leather, liquorice and dark chocolate balanced with the tart citrus acidity. A smooth, warm finish harbours some more smoke presence, lingering alongside delicate floral nuances. Serve neat over a single ice cube or with a splash of spring water.

anCnoc Peatheart is available from Master of Malt and The Whisky Exchange, RRP £52, 70cl. Further information on anCnoc can be found here.

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