Knockando 12, 1999

Knockando 12I don’t know much about or have much experience with Knockando. It is one of Diageo’s less glamorous distilleries and the only thing that makes them stand out is that they put a vintage and an age statement on their bottles. The only one I’ve tried to date is the 25 yo that was part of the special annual release a couple of years ago. I thought that was pretty good but it didn’t particularly wow me (perhaps because I tasted it alongside some powerhouse sherried malts). Will this 12 yo hold any surprises? Let’s see.

Knockando 12 (43%; from a sample received in a swap)

Nose: Mild sherry notes–some citrus, some milk chocolate but also some dusty and grassy notes. Nothing terribly exciting. With more time darker notes emerge–raisins mostly. Water lightens the nose and re-emphasizes the citrus.

Palate: As on the nose–the citrus and grassiness are most to the fore. Some mild raisiny notes too. Very thin mouthfeel. On the second sip there’s a low-level but pretty pervasive metallic bitterness to go with the citrus. I’m picking up a very faint soapiness as well. The bitterness expands as it goes. Let’s see if water improves this. Well, it cuts down the bitterness and lets the citrus come back to the fore but the already watery texture is done no favours.

Finish: Medium. Nothing interesting though. Some of the citrus lingers but mostly it’s grassy malt and that bitterness. As on the palate with water.

Comments: Mostly inoffensive and drinkable but there’s nothing even barely distinctive about this. I think I understand why Knockdhu were worried about being mistaken for Knockando.

Rating: 78 points.

Thanks to Florin for the sample!

4 thoughts on “Knockando 12, 1999

  1. Here are my notes:

    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. 3*/5.

    This one also grew on me, after my initial “meh” reaction (similar to yours).
    As for the peat debate, here’s an experiment, assuming that you have some of the samples left:
    Line up a Tomatin 12yo (the Kirkland 18yo will do), Knockando 12yo and the 2005 Dalmore 12yo, and drink them in this order. See if you can detect the difference in peat levels.

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    • I am perfectly willing to believe that I would find the Dalmore 12 to be peatier than the Tomatin 12. I certainly didn’t even record anything leafy or any roasted malt in this Knockando 12. It’s just that I didn’t find the Dalmore 12 notably peaty per se. But as I said in that discussion, one person’s “leafy” and “roasted malt” and “milk chocolate” could just as easily be another’s “light smoke”–we may pick up similar notes but not always use the same descriptors. But “immensely peaty” is another matter.

      Both samples were completely consumed, but as it happens, I did try them back to back: the Knockando followed by the Dalmore.

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        • A head-to-head would be interesting! Like I said, add in a Tomatin 12yo or equivalent. As for a blind taste – it’s not far from tasting blind Bowmore 12yo vs. Johnnie Walker Black.

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