Knockando 15 Years Review


“Boring instead of Roaring”

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Knockando Richly Matured
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 15 Years
ABV: 43% 
Chill-Filtration: Yes  
Whisky Review # 608
Buying Advice: 😴  Neutral. It's boring. Price/Quality okay at $ 45,--.

Colour: Golden Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Light, Floral and Fruity. It's mostly Sweet with some slightly Sour notes in the background. The Sherry cask influence is noticeable but subdued. I find Sweet Cereals, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Caramel, Raisins, Sugared Almonds, Puff Pastry filled with Warm Apple, Caffe Latte, Milk Chocolate, Toasted Refill Oak, light Honey, Grass, Dusty Road, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a sprinkle of Lemon. Most of the Aromas I picked up are mere hints or even suggestions. The main drivers are Sweet Cereals, Apple, Caramel, Butter/Cream and Nutmeg. On the Nose, this Single Malt is not bad but it lacks depth, complexity and adventure.   

Palate: A little Thin, Bitter-Sweet and slightly Sour. I find Sugared Cereals, Malt Biscuits, Almonds, Raisins, Caramel, Vanilla, Milk Chocolate, Caffe Latte, Apple- and Pear flavoured Candies, Oak, Grapefruit, Dirty Earth, light Honey, Pepper and Nutmeg.

Finish: Short. Bitter-Sweet and a few Sour Notes. Dry towards the end. Very clear notes of slightly Sour Green Apples and Grapes. I also find Sweet Cereals, Malted Barley, slightly Bitter Refill Oak, light Honey, Caramel, Almonds, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon and a hint of Marzipan.   

I added a little Water and the Nose becomes quite Floral (Perfume). The Apples come to the front as well. Palate and Finish do not benefit from added Water. They simply become too Thin.

Rating: 81.5     

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5


General Remarks:

The Knockando distillery was founded in 1898 in Upper Knockando, Morayshire, some 9 miles from Aberlour. Production already started a year later in 1899. It was mothballed from 1900-1904 as a result of the end of the great Victorian Whisky boom. Through various mergers it ended up with Diageo in 1997. Today, the core range consists of the 12, the 15, the 18 and the 21 Years. Knockando is an important part of the J&B Rare Blend as well. The 15 Years I'm reviewing today was distilled in 1997 and bottled around 2012. All Knockando Single Malts are still Vintage expressions. The 15 Years matured in a mix of Refill Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Sherry casks. Prices are usually in the 45-60 US Dollar range (April 2017).

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay but quite uneventful. 

Conclusion: I can confirm that quite a bit of Knockando spirit is used for the J&B Blend. I just had a look at my tasting notes of this Blend that I reviewed in 2012 and the Knockando influence is quite clear. As a 15 year old Single Malt however the Knockando 15 Years does not convince me. The Spirit is okay I guess with Fruity and Floral notes although the Sweet Cereals remain quite prominent. But again I question the cask management. The Sherry influence is very limited, so few and inactive casks of that type were used. And the Bourbon casks were already used a couple of times. In that case I always get this Bitter "Refill" note that is so common in cheap Blends. To summon it up, the Knockando 15 years is not a bad Whisky and, at 45 Dollars, the price/quality ratio is okay. But it's a Malt that lacks depth, personality and fun! It's just boring.

Jan van den Ende                                                                        April 6, 2017

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