A couple of weeks ago I got contacted by Lukasz from Alembic Communications, although if you know the bloke it’s probably because he’s part of the Edinburgh Whisky Blog crew too.
AnCnoc was releasing three new whiskies, all peated, and he wanted to know if I was up for a Twitter Tasting. I was, but the samples weren’t, unfortunately. I was not the only one who got the samples late, so we decided to do a second Twitter Tasting when the slackers got their booze in.
It was a fun night with a suprising amount of people. I guess, apart from Lukasz, some other English dudes decided to join the tasting for a second time. The samples were big enough for it, and it made it a lot more fun. The more, the merrier!
The range’s whiskies are called Rutter, Flaughter and Tuskar. If you say it quickly it sounds like an old engine starting (or a fart, according to Gal), but the names are the tools used in peat cutting. Rutter and Flaughter are two similar tools for cutting and shoveling, while the Tushkar is the long knife with which you cut the peat blocks from the ground.
The PPMs seem low, but they are measured on the whisky instead of the malted barley like other distilleries do. Usually 25 ppm (Bowmore for example) results in less than 11ppm in the finished product.
Rutter, 11ppm, 46%
It’s more peaty than I expected due to the measuring point deviation, and there’s hints of oak and spices on the nose. Gentle and warming. Quite some dried apple, a hint of curry spices and a rather ashy kind of peat. Very bonfire-like. Not many different scents, but very focused and rather nice smelling. After a while I start getting more honeyed scents and a hint of apricot.
On the palate is packs more punch than expected with ash, charcoal, white pepper and fruit syrup. Apple, pear, tinned pineapple juice, a hint of vanilla and pepper on a Talisker level.
The finish is more warming than the palate with a more gentle smoke, instead of the ashy coarseness from the mouth feel. I also get some English Blend tea.
While this whisky certainly has some character, it is young enough to show some distillery character. I mean this without the whisky being spirity or immature. A rather good dram, actually.
Flaughter, 14.8ppm, 46%
Flaughter starts off more timid than Rutter. The smoke is there, but warmer and less crisp. There’s a bit more oak present too, with warm ash and banana. A bit floral too. Lukasz suggest some hoppy bitterness and I agree with him, although he went for American hops and I went for more traditional English hops, like Goldings or so. Less crisp than American ones. There’s some candied lemon peel too or marmalade.
On the palate it’s a lot more smoky than the Rutter with ripe oranges, oak, smoke and charcoal. Some stewed fruits too and that bitterness from hops and/or lemon pith. After that it develops to more greasy, barbecue kind of smokiness with oak and butter.
The finish is similar but lacks the bitterness. It’s not very long, but it is very tasty.
Tushkar, 15ppm, 46%
This is very different from the other two right from the get go. I get peaches and nectarine at first, all fresh, with peat of course. After that there’s a lot of wine like flavours with a sense of sulphites and tannins, and blue grapes (this caused some discussion since it’s probably a very Dutch thing to call ’em that).
The palate sweet and peaty combination of flavours. Some brown sugar and an almost rum like sense of sweetness. With smoke and flavours of barley that is. Some fruit and red wine flavours too. Wine, banana, grapes, peach. I expected sherry casks to be involved but AnCnoc promised me there were not.
The finish is nice and long. The smoke is rather coarse, but the fruit flavours are very rich. A very good combination of flavours.
At this point in the tasting we got a bit off topic while discussing Wildlings and other not so related things.
The whisky then. Again, this version for the Swedish market is very delicious with some very interesting flavours. I guess this was my favourite of the bunch, with Rutter as the runner up.
At first I was a bit skeptical since a lot of distilleries have hopped on the peat bandwagon with limited success in my point of view. Also, I find a bit of a lame maneuver to go for young peated stuff when it’s so highly popular, but with this Twitter tasting AnCnoc has convinced me that it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
All three whiskies are delicious and affordable and prove that the NAS whisky range can be great too. Thanks AnCnoc, for the booze and the tasting!