By Richard Thomas
Named for its host town in Moray, Knockando means “Little Black Hill.” The distillery was build there in 1898, and while that is not a particularly aged date for a scotch distillery, it does mean that Knockando’s distillery was built at just the right time to become the first distillery in Scotland with electric lighting. Knockando remains a distinctly rural place to this day, surrounded by woods where deer are sometimes seen, and the distillery draws its water from the Cardnach Spring. While scotch tourists can visit the town of Knockando and enjoy the scenery, the distillery is not open to the public.
Knockando is now owned by the multinational liquor company Diageo.
Knockando’s 12 Year old is the entry-level label for this premium line of scotch whiskies. It has a light gold color, so light in fact that in the snifter the edges of the scotch become transparent. In its fine-looking bottle, Knockando 12 Year has less color to it than a watery light beer. The scotch is aged for 12 years in a mix of old sherry casks and American white oak bourbon casks.
The nose for the Knockando 12 Year is thick with a smokiness that bears more resemblance to ash than to peat. On the palate, the scotch is light and dry with a hint of sweetness. I felt the sweetness actually came forward more on the finish than on the palate, mixed with a clear, lingering warmth.
In the United States, Knockando 12 Year Old is a $45 to $50 bottle of scotch.