Nc’Nean is a new distillery (originally it was christened Ncn’Ean, but no one could pronounce it, so it was changed to Nc’Nean), named after Neachneobhain, the Celtic queen of spirits and protector of nature, something this distillery feels is very important. They grow their barley organically and use only renewables for energy. Even the packaging, both bottle and tube, are made of recycled material. The first spirit came from the stills in 2017, after a process put together by Dr Jim Swan, who passed away two weeks before. In 2020 the inaugural release ‘Ainnir’ at cask strength was launched (1320 bottles), immediately followed by this general release – batch 1 – at drinking strength. By the way: bottle no 1 of the Ainnir was sold for charity and broke all records with a winning bid of no less than £41.004! This Batch 1 sold out pretty quickly. It’s a vatting of 14 casks, 65% STR red wine casks and 35% former bourbon casks.
The nose is young and playful, but not immature. Sweet malt, caramel and nougat, flowery honey, wilde flowers and a hint of pomelo. Fresh and fruity and reminds me a bit of a Lowland scotch.
The malt is nicely creamy and softly spicy on white pepper and liquorice. The playfulness returns on the palate with sweet malt and hazelnuts, but now mostly citrus fruit in the guise of pomelo and lime. There is a lovely minty freshness. Very summery.
The finish is medium long, pleasantly warm and fruity on more citrus.
This is very good for a three years old malt. And I must confess, I love the packaging. Looks absolutely stunning in my book. Originally this was around 55 EUR, but alas nowhere to be found anymore. Bring on batch 2.