...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Let's Knockando it! Knockando 12 year old 1999 (OB)

Let's start where I started, with this recent Knockando 12 year old.  Knockando's official bottlings aren't sold in the US and their independently bottled versions are scarce everywhere because the J&B needs its 'do.  Thus when Florin (a prince) offered up a good portion of his bottle of the 12, I was happy to receive it.  At first I found it to be an easy drinker, something to sip and generally ignore.  With successive pours, it began taking on more form and character.  I set two ounces aside for a future review, and now the future has arrived.

Distillery: Knockando
Owner: Diageo plc
Type: Single Malt Report
Region: Speyside (Central)
Age: 12 years (1999-2011)
Maturation: primarily ex-bourbon casks with a smaller amount of ex-sherry casks
Chill-filtration? Yes
Caramel colored? Yes
Alcohol by Volume: 43%

The color is DiageoGold™.  Large quantities of barley and yeast in the nose, and a hell of a lot of honey.  Some notes of apples, fresh pears, orange hard candies, vanilla, and marzipan.  Some nuts, cigar tobacco, and cocoa from the sherry casks (probably).  An occasional gritty note.  With time in the glass, the whisky develops notes of dried berries, dried grass, and tangerines.  At first the palate is lightly smoky, with some salty butter and something a little dirty (literally dirt).  There are smaller notes of oak spice, lemons, sweet wine, and pilsner.  After some time in the glass, the whisky gets a little creamier, the lemons becoming lemon bars.  Some sugary frosting, orange pulp, walnuts, honey, and burnt barley emerge as well.  A hint of the honey.  The dusty/toasty/burnt thing sticks around into the finish.  There are also some oranges, black peppercorns, honey, and vanilla.  In later sips, the citrus grows as does a jasmine-like note.  A moderate length finish overall.

As I hinted at in the intro, the whisky really grew on me.  It's very pleasant and barley-forward.  It's not actually complex, but I did two different tasting sessions, which is why there's a pile of tasting notes.  I also wrote down, "Would be great with a beer."  It would be even better at a $30-$35 price point -- as it is in much of Europe -- since it's a small step up from Glenfiddich 12 and probably comparable quality-wise to Tomatin 12.  Hell, if J&B included more of this in their bland blend, I'd buy that as well.  But that's not happening, so maybe someday Diageo can find it in its cold black heart to bring Knockando to the US.  Perhaps?

Availability - European retailers
Pricing - $30-$40 (w/VAT, w/o shipping)
Rating - 84


  1. Don't know what you got (till it's gone). I didn't much care for this for the first half of the bottle - simple, sherried whisky, I said. But one day I realized there was quite a lot going on there. Here are my notes after that awakening. Now I wouldn't mind another bottle of the same!

    Interesting whisky. Nose: sweet dark sherry, peaty brine, floral citrus (orange tree flowers?), some malt in the distance. Taste: briny, salty, medium body, good mouth feel, some malt backbone, sweet sherry. Comments: good, interesting sherried whisky if you like sweet whiskies. The briny style reminded me of the old Dalmore 12yo, however, it's simpler, sunnier than the Dalmore, not brooding - less peat and probably less sherry as well.

    1. I think we poured the big sample from the second half of the bottle because I'm seeing some common findings here. And my sample got progressively better as well. This one might require a little bit of oxidation or maybe just right moment.

  2. I already heard that Knockandos are getting better again after their low in the 80s and those reviews really make me consider to buy a bottle again. I also just revisited one indy Knockando I had in my sample archive and also liked it better than in the inital tasting - tho I think it was coming out of an ex-bourbon barrel with no sherry influence at all.

    So yeah... i agree that Knockando is getting underrated on a regular base. Not the worst thing which could happen to a malt these days :P

    1. Yep, it's fine by me if everyone overlooks Knockando. This was the specific bottling that made me wish they'd bring the 'do to The States. Just the 12. It would be nice to have a solid malt in the $30-$35 price range.

  3. It's about $35 here, tax included, so I may have to pick up a bottle. Thanks for sharing.

    1. So they do have it outside of Europe, now I know. It's good that the price wasn't hiked up. As per my comment with Florin, he found his getting better in the second half of the bottle and I think that's where my pour came from. If you ever do your own home vattings or blends, this would probably make for a good malty base.

  4. For another take on this whisky (and this very bottle) see MAO's review of it here.