Whisky Showdown! Glenlivet 12 vs. anCnoc 12

Having just reviewed a whisky whose flavour profile was surprisingly pleasant and rich at 12 years, I decided a comparison against a popular whisky of the same age was in order. The Glenlivet 12 is not just a popular whisky, it is a good everyday dram. The question I have is whether this popularity is well deserved against a lesser known rival.

Both whiskies are bottled at 40% abv and are at the starting point of their range.

In appearance, both whiskies are identical in colour and consistency. They both have a yellow colour, bordering gold. The the anCnoc may, and I stress the “may”, be slightly more pale.

On the nose, the Glenlivet is light and sweet. Apple and vanilla with a hint of cinnamon are the order of the day. The fruitiness of the Glenlivet easily is contrasted against the lemon and honey of the anCnoc. Concentrate on the nose for a while and with the proper amount of water (very little to both), and you will be able to find their common trait: vanilla.

One the palate, the soft and silky Glenlivet provides gentle apple, wood, and pear. The anCnoc is very similar, but the flavours much stronger. There’s apple and pear to the anCnon, like the Glenlivet, but the flavours are more easily identified. The anCnoc adds honey but less wood, making for a sweeter profile.

The finish on the Glenlivet is pleasant, with wood and milk chocolate. I notice a slight oily texture on my tongue as well. The anCnon 12 provides deep malts and sweet notes. The finish on the anCnon is longer, but not very long either.

I’ll give an edge to the anCnoc here, it’s a more complex whisky with interesting points throughout the tasting.


anCnoc 12

One of the the fruits if my labours of managing through a long and arduous fantasy football season was the winning of a mystery bottle of whisky resulting from a crushing performance by my team on a head to head match against a worthy opponent. Alas, this victory yielded a bottle of anCnoc 12 which was quickly opened and tasted by both my vanquished opponent and myself.

anCnoc (pronounced a-nock) is named for Knock Hill (called anCnoc in Gaelic) next to which the Knockdhu distillery is situated. The name anCnoc translates to Black Hill, and the springs flowing down this hill provide the water for the distillery. This is a small distillery founded in 1893 and maintaining much of its old production equipment. With traditional worm tubs for condensing the product, wooden washbacks, and stone dunnage warehouses, a visit to this distillery is an adventure back in time.

The distillery was closed for a time in the 1980s, but good fortune smiles upon us today as it was reopened by new owners and makes some interesting expressions, albeit in limited quantities.

This 40% abv whisky has thin legs than run rather slow. The colour is a light yellow, bordering on gold.

On the nose, honey and lemon are obvious at first. Dig deeper and vanilla breaks through.

The palate is full of pear and apple, some lemon zest, and honey. A sweet whisky, the mouth-feel is quite creamy and satisfying.

The finish is surprisingly long and malty. The sweetness remains in the finish, providing consistency across the senses.

Some water opens up the vanilla and makes it easier to detect. A slight floral influence can also be noted on the nose. The finish opens up a bit and makes it more sweet on the finish.

A nice whisky and perfect for everyday consumption. I recommend this as a staple whisky to your collection, keeping a constant supply will make both your guests and yourself happy. It sells for $60.50 at the SAQ in Quebec, $66 at the LCBO in Ontario, and a bargain price of $40 in New Hampshire.

It may well be that my review was biased in a sense; whisky somehow tastes better when earned at someone else’s expense. However, just to be sure, I think I’ll have another.


Ancnoc 12