Currently, whisky distilling is experiencing a golden dawn. In the last couple of years, many young production sites with fresh minds have opened up their gates and heated their stills. Many of them are now releasing their first whiskies. In the following, I will introduce two drams from new distilleries that are both pretty unique in their approach and proposition. Nc’nean (see below how the name is possibly pronounced) was founded in 2017 with the goal to produce whisky in a sustainable, eco-friendly way. “Our whisky makes a big impression with the smallest footprint,” they say on their website. “Every bottle is certified organic, made in our 100% renewable energy distillery and bottled in a 100% recycled glass bottle.” That’s really cool in my book! Dalmunach is much bigger. It belongs to Pernod Ricard and stands on the grounds of the mothballed Imperial Distillery; parts of the old Imperial building have even been integrated into the new distillery’s architecture! Prior to this tasting session, both Nc’nean and Dalmunach were new to me. I am glad that I have made their acquaintance now!
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • Highlands • 46% • small batch)
Let’s be honest: For many of us, the first thing that comes to mind when reading this new distillery’s name is “How the heck is that pronounced?” A quick Google research produced two possible results, namely “nook-nee-an” or “nich-nee-an”. I have decided to go with the first. But what is the whisky alike? Well, Nc’nean Organic is young and vivid, yet round and leveled. And it is sustainably produced! It greets my nostrils with creamy vanilla sauce and warm waffles followed by sunny grass, liquid honey and fine saw dust. Also green apples and crunchy pears. The aroma is really pleasant – as is the full, silken mouth feel. The key flavors include pancakes, apple puree and lemon spritz alongside light grapes and yellow plums. And again a lot of thick, creamy vanilla sauce. The voluminous finish adds a good amount of caramel and a bit of peppermint to the potpourri of fruits, treats and baked goods. It is more on the quick side, but for the time that it lasts it is really enjoyable. Nc’nean – we don’t know each other for long, but you have already won a new fan with me! I totally dig your approach, your philosophy and – certainly – your spirit!
Dalmunach 3yo 2016/2020 – The Octave by Duncan Taylor (for DeinWhisky.de)
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • Speyside • 52.6% • 88 bottles)
Dalmunach is part of the “Latest Wave of Scotch Whisky Distilleries”. The Pernod Ricard-owned production site is located on the premises of the ghost distillery Imperial. It went productive in 2015. Though the high-tech unit can produce up to 10 million litres of alcohol per year, you do not stumble upon a bottle of Dalmunach all too often – the vast majority of the distillery’s output goes into blends. This 3-year-old single cask from Duncan Taylor for DeinWhisky.de is my first-ever dram of Dalmunach. It brims with bright, sweet fruits. A deep sniff offers passion fruit, pineapple, lime and green banana. There is also something about it that reminds me of a blossoming meadow in Spring; and something that smells of burnt vanilla pudding at the bottom of the cooking pot. In the mouth, the young Speysider feels dense, heavy and milky. Besides different kinds of green and yellow fruits, the whisky also provides notes of white chocolate, whipped cream, lemon sorbet and cotton candy. It is quite character-strong with an edge here and there. The mid-long aftertaste has hard candy and clover as well as peach and banana. And a thin, ashy quality in the back. This might have been my first Dalmunach, but it certainly was not my last!
Nc’Nean Organic (Single Malt / Highlands / NAS / ex-Bourbon & red wine barreles / 46% / EUR 55 )
Dalmunach 3yo – The Octave by D. Taylor (Single M. / Speys. / 3yo / Octave fin. / 52.6% / EUR 45)
Nc’Nean @ Web: https://ncnean.com/
Kirsch Import @ Web: https://kirschwhisky.de/
Kirsch Import @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kirschwhisky/
DeinWhisky @ Web: https://www.deinwhisky.de/
DeinWhisky @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deinwhisky.de/
*** Whisky samples kindly provided by Kirsch Import & DeinWhisky. ***