anCnoc Peter Arkle

anCnoc Peter Arkle

It’s always interesting to see drinks industry/art collaborations. Alcohol and artists go back a long way, and I think it is a relationship that works well. Firstly, I imagine if you were to ask a cross section of artists, they would at least mention alcohol once in their creative process. A bottle of wine, a glass of scotch. These are what get the creative juices flowing.

Look at Absinthe. Picasso actually attributed Absinthe at more than one point to his inspirations. I mean even some of his art is named after Absinthe! The Absinthe glass for instance.

The relationship is strong for many reasons, including business reasons. The artist gets to design a label for a brand (normally something a bit different from their day to day routine), artist gets paid (artists have to be able to afford food to continue their work!), artist gets promoted to new audience via brand and artist normally gets a fair amount of their chosen drop as a compensation and something to contribute to their next piece of art. Brand gets a very nice label design, gets some PR and gets something to add to their brand heritage.

Look at other brands. Somerset Cider Brandy managed to get Damien Hurst to design their packaging for their 20 year old. Chateux Mouton Rothschild commission a famous artist to design a label for every vintage, and they have been doing this since 1945 (Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Lucien Frued being examples)

Now, on to Peter Arkle and anCnoc. anCnoc is made by Knockdhu, a distillery on the eastern fringes of Speyside that uses predominantly ex-bourbon casks to mature quite a complex spirit. This bottling is a collaboration between New York based (Penicuick born) artist and illustrator, Peter Arkle and anCnoc, which is part of an artists series of limited edition bottlings. Here is a sample of Peter’s illustrations:

Peter has drawn for Nike, The New Yorker, Apple and Mens Health among others. His label design, which you can see just below, is made up of five pictures which represent the different elements of whisky; malted barley, spring water, heat, yeast, time & MAGIC!!

What’s unusual about this bottling is that it is ex-sherry casks, which is something anCnoc normally doesn’t do. It is between 8 and 12 years old. I find it complex, fruity, woody and meaty. I like a “dirty” dram, but someone super sensitive to sulphur may not like this one. The kind of person who hates the smell of matches or fireworks. It is a tiny note, and I don’t mind it, but many hate it. I have been dramming with it all week in my shop, Drinkmonger Bruntsfield, and it has been really well received by customers.

It is exclusively on sale at Royal Mile Whiskies, so buy it here if you so wish.


Question: What do you folks think of the label? Comments below please.

Chris Hoban

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