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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Knockando The Time Warp! Knockando 12 year old 1966 (OB) Justerini & Brooks Dateo Import

The Whisky Wayback Warp deposits us in 1966, just four years after W & A Gilbey merged with United Wine Traders to become IDV, and more importantly when Knockando distillery was still malting their own barley.  By the time his whisky was bottled in 1978, the maltings were forever shuttered and Grand Metropolitan had taken over.

The Grand Metro takeover wasn't all bad.  Almost immediately upon their ownership change in 1972, Knockando's single malt was first released.  It was done by utilizing the name of Justerini & Brooks on the label.  Justerini & Brooks (also part of Grand Metropolitan) had achieved worldwide success with their blend J&B Rare.  In fact in 1963, they were the second Scotch brand to sell one million cases in a year (after Cutty Sark did so in 1962).  So the brand recognition was strong, thus, "Here's another J&B scotch!" approach.

Thank you to Cobo for this great photo.  And thank you, of course, for a sample of this whisky.  The Single Malt Sentinels approve.

Distillery: Knockando
Ownership at time of bottling: Grand Metropolitan (via Justerini & Brooks)
Importer: Dateo
Type: Single Malt
Region: Speyside (Central)
Age: 12 years
Distilled: 1966
Bottled: 1978
Maturation: ???
Alcohol by Volume: 43%

Its color is light gold.  The nose begins full of peach and papaya, limes and lemongrass.  Then orange pixy stix, bubblegum, and a whisper of vanilla bean.  After some time......apples, salty butter, fresh wood pulp, caramel, and cassia bark.  The palate's fruit is a bit tarter than the nose lets on.  Some bold bitterness up front, then sugar later on.  A bit sharp at first, almost austere (fancy word!).  But eventually, the nose's bubblegum shows up and some sweet barley sugars emerges, brightening things up.  Hints of blood orange and grapefruit appear later on as well.  The finish is quite dry, like a minerally white wine.  Some tart citrus.  A tiny bit of sugar.  Lots of grass/chlorophyll.  A moment of ripe bananas and the essence of Juicy Fruit gum (without the sweets, if you can picture that).

What a nose!  So fresh and bright after 37 years under the cork.  I didn't mind the woody notes that appeared later because they danced so well with the fruity spirit.  After the beauty queen nose, the palate seemed almost blue collar, a lean mean malt.  I think you'd have to dig super dry white wine (like I do) to really enjoy it.

If you're looking for other opinions on it, Serge reviewed it almost eight years ago.  And I think Cobo likes this one quite a bit.

This was a lot of fun.  Whatever could be on deck for tomorrow?

Availability - Auctions
Pricing - not as expensive as most other distilleries from this era
Rating - 87