Foremost among the distilleries along the banks of the chill, clear waters of the Spey stands Knockando. Built by John Thompson in 1898, the Knockando distillery lies in the village of the same name, derived from the Gaelic ‘Cnoc-an-dhu’ meaning ‘little black hill’.
It is a place of magic. The pagoda-shaped roof, almost hidden by trees and younger buildings, broods over an isolated bend in the River Spey. Whilst inside, the same levels of care and craftsmanship are employed as were evident more than one hundred years ago.
The quantity of peat used in malting the barley is carefully controlled so as not to overbalance the taste of the final product, and the proportion of sherry casks used is restricted so as to not dominate the taste of the whisky.
Time is another key element, as gentle maturation in oak casks slowly reveal the subtle aromas: delicate with a distinctive fresh almond note in its younger versions, it gains weight and depth of flavour over the years.
Although distillation continues throughout the year, each year of production is still referred to as a Season at Knockando distillery. In each bottle you will only ever find the produce of one single Season - a practice which continues to distinguish Knockando™ from almost all other single malts.
Thus, when the young spirit is brought to the warehouse, the Season of distillation is marked on the end of the cask. And when it is ready to be bottled, it is duly inscribed on the bottle and the gift box together with the year of bottling. No colouring is ever added – it is for this reason that the depth of the colour in successive bottlings sometimes varies.