Embracing the Dark Side With anCnoc Peatheart Whisky

I love a Speyside whisky, tending to err away from peated Islay expressions, but anCnoc Peatheart has made me rethink my geographical preferences.

In fairness, while most of my favoured whiskeys do tend to come from the Speyside area, I’m not one to ignore other areas simply because they’re not Speyside, but I’ve never got on with heavily peated drinks, whether from Islay or not.

Which is why I approached the awkwardly named anCnoc Peatheart without trepidation. Its 12-year-old whisky is a glorious everyday drink that can stand up to scrutiny amongst more educated palettes, it’s honey and lemon flavours providing a light and interesting taste that’s easy to enjoy.

The Peatheart expression, as its name suggests, is rather darker and more robust. Using peat sourced locally (so there’s no hint of Islay in there) it’s a drink that doesn’t carry an age statement. We’re told that it’s 13 to 14 years old, and who are we to doubt that, but the blend means a specific age statement is irrelevant.

With just 1,700 cases being produced, the Peatheart Batch 2 was initially exclusive to Sweden but, finally, we’ve got the dram in the UK. Has it been worth the wait?

anCnoc Peatheart being tasted

The light gold whisky has a definite peaty nose, but it’s balanced with a barbecue flavour that brings a degree of sweetness. There’s definitely some sweeter fruits there too, such as pineapple or even some toffee apple.

There’s no need to be nervous of the peat, as its flavour is balanced and structured beautifully. There’s arguably more smoke flavours than peat, balanced by a sweetness reminiscent of Jelly Babies or possibly Gummy Bears.

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The finish is long, pleasingly so, with the sweetness joined by a bit of spice, fading away to leave a warming, smoky conclusion.

Criticisms are few; my untrained taste buds suggest there’s more of a reliance on peat and smoke than there is in some of the softer flavours that are in the mix, but that’s probably my anti-peat bias shining through a little. In truth, there’s a wonderfully light touch gone into making Peatheart, with the more robust flavours not overwhelming the sweeter and spicier elements of the whisky.

It takes what’s excellent about anCnoc and extends it’s appeal a little wider. If like me, you need to broaden your horizons, then it’s thoroughly recommended.

The anCnoc Peatheart Batch 2 whisky is bottled at 46% ABV and available for around £50 a bottle.

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Phil Huff

Phil Huff has been writing for national newspapers, magazines, regional titles and countless websites since 2003. Specialising in travel and the automotive world, Phil is happiest when exploring foreign lands in foreign cars.