Nc’nean Organic Single Malt Batch 1

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There’s a been a wee flurry of first and inaugural expressions being released by the ‘new wave’ of Scotch whisky distilleries recently. We’ve had Ardnamurchan, Dornoch, and Raasay all launch their first bottlings, and today I have another in front of me; the first batch of Nc’nean organic single malt.

Before we even get to the liquid, it’s worth saying that distillery is powered with 100% renewable energy, and the bottle is constructed from 100% recycled clear glass. The whole ethos behind the brand are built around sustainability and environmental awareness. On top of that, they have used certified organic Scottish barley, employed a pleasingly long fermentation time of 114 hours, and used two types of yeast – Fermentis and Anchor – in order to create a fruit-forward style of spirit. The influence of the late Dr Jim Swan’s expertise is also plain to see; Batch 1 of their organic single malt has been matured in a combination of shaved, toasted, and recharred (STR) red wine casks (65%), and bourbon casks (35%).

Nc’nean founder, Annabel Thomas, said of the release: “When I left my London job to found Nc’nean in 2013, I wanted to create a distillery that would be known for creativity and would lead the way in sustainability. At the time, 2020 seemed impossibly far away, and we’ve overcome so many hurdles on the journey so far, but I am incredibly excited to have reached this point. But more than that, I feel the quality and taste of our first whisky proves that a focus on the excellence of the spirit with careful sourcing of barley and yeast, and a slow and gentle fermentation and distillation, creates a whisky that is both delicious and sustainable. I’m incredibly proud of the whisky we are releasing.”

Nc’nean Organic Single Malt
Batch .01
65% STR red wine casks & 35% bourbon casks
5,040 bottles
46% ABV
£47.95 RRP

Nose: Some wood glue and window putty soon blow off to reveal estery and fruity notes, with gummy bears, orange zest, cranberry, gooseberry and red currants. Then a sweet malty note – sugared porridge and other breaky cereals, and some fresh scones – with just a hint of oak.

Palate: A creamy and fruity start with red fruits, fresh cream and a wee biscuity note (cranachan?), with a syrupy fruit salad consisting of melon, peach, and apricot. Vanilla Angel Delight on an oak stave.

Finish: Turns spicier, with baking spices, rye bread, and a drying woodiness.

Overall: Very pleasant, especially considering the whisky’s rather tender age. As with a lot of these initial expressions, very active oak has been relied upon to perhaps mask some immaturity, and to add a bit of depth to the dram. I’d have much preferred to have seen this whisky solely matured in bourbon casks so we could see more of the Nc’nean DNA in this whisky, but I can totally understand why those STR casks have been used. The recipe for subsequent batches also has this 65% v 35% skew towards STR casks, which is a wee bit of a shame for us ‘purists’ (read: ‘geeks’), but it does make for a lovely whisky. Sadly, Batch 1 is now solely in the realm of online auctions having sold out in double quick time, but if you get the chance to taste any of the next few batches, I’d recommend giving it a go.




  1. do you have a Nc Nean organic whisky batch 1 for sale

  2. Hi Fiona,

    I’m afraid not, your best bet would be to scour the online auction sites if you’re looking for a Batch 1 bottle.



  3. Hey there,

    we love Nc’Nean – there was a documentation in german television a few weeks ago and it was very interesting to see how a newcomer like Annabel Thomas can bring so much new spirit in the market.

    Have a nice weekend

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