Knockando Vertical

A Quartet of Arran
A Whisky Wire Tweet Tasting

By my own admission, 2017 has not been a good year for reviewing whisky thus far. But it is my sincere promise to pick up the pace and put out at least one review every week. Let us start the healing process with a vertical tasting of a Speyside distillery that lends itself perfectly for the job: Knockando, key ingredient of the J&B Blend. Like Balblair, the single malt range of this distillery is not composed of age statements but of vintage releases. Bottling them only, according to the distiller, when they are just right. Furthermore, it looks like all the Knockandos I’ll taste tonight were bourbon cask maturation only, making it even more suitable for suitable for comparative tastings)

2017-02-28 22.55.30Fortunately I am the lucky owner of four such vintage release, purchased at a miniatures’ auction some time ago. The time intervals may have been better balanced. But chronologically I have an 1974, 1979, 1980 and 1982 on offer.

1. Knockando - 1974 Vintage (1974/1986) 
2. Knockando - 1979 Vintage (1979/1994)
3. Knockando - 1980 Vintage (1980/1996)
4. Knockando - 1982 Vintage (1982/1996)

Time to get the glasses ready and enjoy… Looking for the scores? You'll find them below.

 

 

Knockando Vintage 1974

Banana Paradise


2017-02-28 22.54.04Description:
 distilled in 1974 and bottled in 1986 for the official Justerini & Brooks’ (J&B) Knockando range.

Nose: now that is something different, it does not even remotely smell like a modern whisky. It is an intense exotic bouquet of creamy banana, milk chocolate, vanilla sticks and Battida de Coco. Given time to breath it also develops a pleasant aroma of palm oil and soft wood smoke.

Mouth: a thin bodied disappointment with light herbal oil, dry oak and traces of liquorice on the palate. An overall drying mouthfeel, with lingering notes of nutmeg and soap.

Finish: nutmeg with a whiff of chocolate.

 

 

Knockando Vintage 1979

First-Rate

2017-02-28 22.53.44
Description:
 distilled in 1979 and bottled in 1994 for the official Justerini & Brooks’ (J&B) Knockando range.  

Nose: far less outspoken, but there are some uncanny similarities in the aroma: banana, caramel fudge, and fresh basil.

Mouth: a light waxy body with a soft nutty caramel palate, with roasted chestnuts and just a slight white pepper edge.

Finish: medium long, malt with a touch of liquorice.

 

 

Knockando 1980 Vintage

Moving Away

2017-02-28 22.54.26
Description:
 distilled in 1980 and bottled in 1996 for the official Justerini & Brooks’ (J&B) Knockando range.

Nose: lightly aromatic with dry straw, linen and caramel. Far more wood quality, but not even a whiff of banana or vanilla left.

Mouth: very fresh and smooth, fudge caramel with black pepper and an off note of boiled potatoes on the palate.

Finish: short’ish, bitter sharp with orange peel and laurel with a pepper in the tail.

 

Knockando 1982 Vintage

Downgraded

2017-02-28 22.54.17
Description:
 distilled in 1982 and also bottled in 1996 for the official Justerini & Brooks’ (J&B) Knockando range.

Nose: an extremely light variation of vanilla, eucalyptus and grain.

Mouth: a waxy body of with a rather simple palate of olive oil, with a touch of caramel and butter.

Finish: short, mainly liquorice.

 

The Verdict

Well, let's just  start at the beginning.

1974 Vintage: a promising outlandish nose, but with no redeeming elements on the palate to back it up. Expect a skewed score card.

1979 Vintage: the nose might have been less interesting, but with the improvements to the palate, it is overall a better whisky. What am I saying? It is even a very decent single malt, a bit simple maybe but straightforward and characterful.

1980 Vintage: the freshness is certainly new,  but there is also an unexpected change in palate. Nevertheless there is a clear connection, though it seems to move away from the old Knockando.

1982 Vintage: from the looks of it the Knockando taste profile got simple pretty fast.

A great experience, the 1979 Vintage was a clear winner and an overall sexciting whisky. Knockando will never be a high hitting distillery, but it has its own uniqueness and I respect that. Give it a try!

 2017-02-28 22.54.04  2017-02-28 22.53.44  2017-02-28 22.54.26  2017-02-28 22.54.17
Score: 77 Score: 86 Score: 83 Score: 80
Nose:
23
Taste:
17
Finish:
18
Balance:
19
Nose:
21
Taste:
22
Finish:
21
Balance:
22
Nose:
21
Taste:
20
Finish:
20
Balance:
22
Nose:
19
Taste:
20
Finish:
19
Balance:
22

< 75: undrinkable, avoid at all costs
75-79: acceptable, give it a try but don't spend to much money on it
80-84: average, enjoyable whiskies mostly easy sippable entry-level single malt 
85-89: above average drams, often well aged expressions, open your wallet
90-94: excellence, sorry kids no x-mas presents this year, daddy needs this bottle
95-99: divinity, call your bank manager for another mortgage on your house