The appeal of single-malt Scotch whisky takes in a great range of tastes, from the peaty, medicinal style of Islay to the peppery punch of Skye.
There's much talk about terroir, or what characteristics the land gives, when it comes to wine. But the same applies to Scotch.
As distinctive as its name, anCnoc comes from the Highlands and the Knockdhu Distillery, which dates to 1894 in Aberdeenshire. The name, pronounced a-nock, refers to the "black hill" where the springs provide the water for this amiable Scotch.
The anCnoc 12 Years Old is a fine, smooth introduction to single malts. It's on the lighter side, soft and creamy, amber-hued, with a tint of green-yellow. The aroma suggests honey, with a trace of citrus and pepper.
Your first taste suggests sweetness, and an herbal quality, followed by melon, spice, some smokiness. Here's a Scotch that makes no demands and delivers a pretty long finish.
A bottle of anCnoc 12 Years Old is about $40.
Easier to pronounce and very easy to drink is Pig's Nose, a blended Scotch, floral and malty. The name stems from the contention that this whisky is as smooth as that bit of anatomy.
Blended whisky mixes malt and grain whiskies, and the blender fashions the taste. Most whisky on the market is blended, including Chivas Regal and The Famous Grouse.
Playful Pig's Nose, aged five years, is appropriately round and mellow. A bottle is about $30.