Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A is for anCnoc, B is for Balblair

Balblair and anCnoc are single malts that have only been on the US market for a little over a year. Both are owned by Inverhouse, a subsidiary of Thai Beverage (ThaiBev) which also owns the Pulteney, Speyburn and Balmenach distilleries.

The anCnoc malt (pronounced "ah-nock"), is made at the Knockdhu distillery in Speyside. They bottle a 12 and 16 year old as well as a few annual special releases. I will be sampling the 12 year old.

Balblair is a Highland distillery which releases malts with vintage statements as opposed to age statements. Their latest US release is the 2000, though they just released the 2001 in the UK. I will be tasting the 2000.

anCnoc 12 (Knockdhu Distillery), 43% abv ($27)

The nose on this is about as light and fruity as it gets. The palate is more malty though still quite light. I can see how this would compete for the Glenlivet/Glenfiddich drinker who wants something a bit lighter and with a bit more fruit, but there's not much substance to it.

Balblair 2000, bottled 2011, 43% abv ($55)

I like the nose on this which has malt with dessert wine notes. The palate is chocolate covered cherries, yielding to malt, wait,'s chocolate malt balls. Mouthfeel is a bit thin and the finish is maraschino cherries. This one is definitely on the sweet side.

My take on the current introductory line for Inverhouse: They are fine to drink, but I'm not going to run out and buy them. If you like these profiles (light and malty for the anCnoc, sweet for the Balblair), you might want to check them out, but I found them one dimensional.

1 comment:

Regular Chumpington said...

The Balblairs get fruitier as they get older. The '97 is a nice mix of like an alcohol-soaked tin of fruit with super-fresh pineapples for variety. The '89 has this incredible fruit compote/fruits that are maybe a day past optimum ripeness thing.

I get that not everyone likes them, but if you enjoy those kind of canned fruit things or have fond memories, it's worth checking out. I'm a weird outlier on Balblair in that I love the stuff. Totally a single-note malt in both cases, but it's done so well.