...where distraction is the main attraction.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Knockandone: Knockando 21 year old 1962 Extra Old Reserve (Justerini & Brooks, Dateo Import)

Photo, from LAWS, may or may not
be of the actual bottle reviewed here. 
Our Knockando journey which started in 1999 now ends in 1962.  1962 was the year the whisky in the bottle was distilled, back when Knockando utilized its own floor maltings, back when they were owned by International Distillers & Vintners.  It was bottled in 1984, long after the maltings were closed and Grand Metropolitan (future Diageo) had taken over.  According to whiskybase, the "Extra Old Reserve" bottlings had started just a few years earlier, joining the 12 year old in the distillery's single malt range.  Like the 12yos, this one has its vintage year listed, as well as the bottling year.  Unique to the range, though, was the fancier looking square decanter, which is a pain in the ass to pour from.

Distillery: Knockando
Ownership at time of bottling: Grand Metropolitan (via Justerini & Brooks)
Importer: Dateo
Type: Single Malt
Region: Speyside (Central)
Age: 21 years
Distilled: 1962
Bottled: 1984
Maturation: dunno, but there are probably ex-sherry casks in the mix
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
(Sample purchased from LA Scotch Club)

The color is medium gold, darker than the previous four whiskies from this series, and less orange than the 1999.  The first thing I notice in the nose is the peat!  A definite medium level peating.  Then grains like barley and corn.  Then orange oil termite treatment in a moldy basement.  In a good way.  Sheep (yep, sheep), followed by caramel and basil leaves.  After 20+ minutes in the glass, a note of refill sherry casks comes along.  Think hot cocoa and toffee, or perhaps a Heath Bar.  The sherry and peat smoke grow with additional time.  The oily-textured palate is grassy and mossy with a medium sweetness.  Mild sherry and the basement note, again.  Toffee pudding with a glass of Campari.  Moments of salt and mango.  With time, a hint of something darker and industrial arises, followed by a hint of something brighter, like citrus peels.  The finsh is mild and barley-ish with toffee and orange peel.  Hints of hard cheese, black pepper, and peach.  A lemon/grapefruit tartness.

As the nose and palate sizzled, this was shaping up to be a 90+ point whisky, but then the finish fizzled.  Andy, who furnished the bottle, wondered if it felt a bit too watered down at this ABV.  While I didn't find that problem on the nose and palate, it may explain the weakish finale.  On the bright side of things -- and things are almost totally bright with this whisky -- the peating works wonders in the nose, as do the sherry casks.  Both are present and contribute well to the whole without overtaking the experience.  The palate has a slight edge to it that raises it above an average decent Speysider.

Of the six Knockandos from this series, this 21yo 1962 and the 12yo 1966 were my favorites.  There wasn't a stinker in the bunch.  Each was slightly different, thanks to variables like cask types, barley sources, Old Bottle Effect levels, and (maybe) vintage variation.  I have been told the sherry cask Knockandos can be dynamite, and I'm sure this 1962 hinted as much.  Otherwise, I enjoyed the cask selection in these whiskies, and admire the blending work required to produce a good single malt.  Thank you to Cobo, Florin, and LASC for making these two Knockando weeks possible.

Availability - Auctions
Pricing - ???
Rating - 88


  1. Wait, this WASN'T all leading up to the 25YO Diageo released a few years ago from first-fill sherry casks? I assumed that was the whole point of amassing all these samples of older, younger OBs. Well how 'bout that.

    1. Hey Anon. Sorry to disappoint. I wouldn't even know who to fight or f*** for a sample of that particular Knockando. And personally, I'm in no rush to purchase any recent Diageo release, especially those carrying this one's price tag. All that being said, that 25yo is likely some damn good stuff.

    2. Already added a sample to your pack ;)

    3. And actually much more to the point, this series was a historical look at Knockando. The whiskies went back in time, from 1999 to 1980 to 1979 to 1966 to 1965 to 1962. The 25yo Diageo release was distilled in 1988, many years after their floor maltings had closed. Plus, if folks are searching the auctions for something historical and fun, these bottlings distilled in the '60s (from the original Knockando floor maltings) are usually a good bit cheaper than the filtered and colored Diageo 25yo.

      Anyhoo, that was point. Sorry if there was any confusion. Thanks for reading!

    4. @Cobo: That parcel is going to need an armed escort!

    5. (The same Anon from above, posting anonymously not for any particularly good reason.)

      No, no, no confusion, no apologies necessary! I quite liked the theme and your thought behind it. I just thought, on seeing the introductory post "Oh good, looks like Kravitz got his hands on that 25YO" which is admittedly TOTALLY different from everything you reviewed in this series. I've had the Special Release, and while it was good, it certainly confirmed my shock and dismay that in an ongoing series of one-off cask strength releases they decided to release something at 43% which unquestionably suffered as a result. Seemed like a strange and pointless waste.

    6. Thanks Anon! I agree about the ABV issue. A sunny skies person would say, "Oh, they bottled at 43% to keep with the Extra Old Reserve legacy." I'm not that person. Though the Knockando 25 was priced towards the bottom of the special releases, they were still pricing in that limited, luxury range despite the fact the whisky was significantly watered down. There's a regular-ish 21yo in the official Knockando range that's less than half the price of the 25.