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anCnoc 18 vs anCnoc 22

Feb 25, 2015

Whisky people sometimes say we've evolved two hands in order to hold two glasses. This may not be the generally accepted scientific explanation but there is a grain of truth here. Nothing helps understand a whisky better than pitching it against another one. Today we look at our two remarkable middleagers, the brand new 18 Year Old and the much-loved 22 Year Old.

Nose: The first sniff of the 18 reveals a clean, malty, fruity profile with a considerable oaky structure. The sherry cask influence is delicate. Switch to the 22 Year Old however and things start getting dirtier and darker. The fruits are drier and there is a distinct note of bitter chocolate. Back to the 18 and it seems almost bright by comparison. But over time it opens up its own complexity, grows more robust and perfumed.

Palate: A small sip of the 18 is heavenly, smooth and rich. There is a hint of old oak furniture and leather here as well as fruit loaf with chocolate sauce. Over time it reveals honey and orange notes, a hint of candied lemons and a pleasant spiciness. Without much ado we take a sip of the 22 Year Old. Immediately it seems spicier, cloves and nutmeg jump out. But the fruit is also there, it sits heavily in the middle of the tongue like mature Christmas pudding. Back to the 18 and we're starting to clearly see the underlining thread. Both are now developing with a stronger vanilla overtone and the signature honey and citrus underpinning.

What do we think: This is almost too much fun. Only four years separate these two whiskies, both were aged in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks but they have distinct personalities and they like to shine on their own. The 18 Year Old is cleaner while the 22 Year Old may just be that little bit richer. You should definitely try this at home.