Knockdhu’s peated AnCnoc range has had something of an intermittent run. At one point there were a broad number of editions all possessing in-bottle PPMs (I likes that) and harking back to tools used to cut peat – several of which I’d never seen nor heard of. Nevertheless, despite my predilections for all things smoky, I still to date have preferred the unpeated AnCnoc bottlings that the distillery has released - several of which have scored well on the pages of The Dramble.
Whisky Sponge has nabbed a heavily peated refill hogshead of 2006 Knockdhu, which is worryingly described as “almost ideological”. I’m expecting a room-dividing effort here. Particularly so when the original ABV of 67% (that’s a *very* quiet 16 years in refill wood) has been reduced down to 55% - the implication being that in its original form this whisky was perhaps somewhat unapproachable.
Nose: Pickling juice, raw agave pina, green olive brine, green peppers and pine needles open – all very green indeed. Needed lifts are provided by green (still) apples, preserved lemons, powdered sugar and Black Jack chews. Water reveals putty, clay, mud (near alluvial) together with menthol. It’s 'out there', but not a million miles away from other near naked peated distillates.
Taste: Bold certainly...but not unapproachable with the ABV rectified to a point where flavour, and not alcoholic burn is the order of the day. Tarry felt, ash and leaf mulch sit with aniseed ball heat whilst pickle juice and olive brine join lime zest, edges of slight meatiness (ham?) and tingling pepper. Dilution isn’t needed now in my opinion – indeed, it’s all rather more murky when taken below 50% - pond water, boiled potatoes and far less definition overall.
Finish: Long and ashy with burnt circuit boards and metholated oak.
If you’ve not yet sampled a peated whisky within the idiosyncratic range this will almost certainly prove eye-opening. However, those of you who have already delved into the likes of Ruadh Mor or perhaps some of the more brutalist naked Ledaigs will likely not flinch too much here. This is certainly ‘on the spectrum’, but it’s not quite yet ready to be consigned to the category of completely batshit. I enjoy it. But I stand by my prediction of this dividing rooms.