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Other than Islay, Speyside is probably the one other location producing the Malt Whiskies that I love. Home of the world-famous Glenlivet whiskies, not the least of which is The Glenlivet, it also produces my own personal favourite, Aberlour. Aberlour is also the region of Glenlivet that produces Knockando. The Knockando distillery is not a particularly old one. Built at the end of the 19th century, it is today a part of the giant Diageo conglomerate through the merger in 1997 of Grand Metropolitan Group and Guinness. Knockando is part of its International Distillers and Vintners division. Specifically the distillery is managed by Justerini and Brooks of J&B Rare fame. Indeed, other than the output that is set aside for Knockando Single Malt Whisky, all of the remainder is a part of the blend that goes to produce J&B Rare itself. The label indicates both the year of distillation and the year of bottling. In the case of my current bottle that is 1984 and 1999 respectively. 15 years is a normal maturation period for Knockando. The initial impression is of that wonderful aroma of Christmas Pudding, a rich fruitiness with a hint of nuts, particularly almonds. The first taste on pouring from the bottle is one of a certain spirit fierceness. I know that many people who declare that they don't like Scotch quote this as the reason. The bite of many Scotches, though not all, compares to some unfavourably to the smoothness and mellowness of Brandies and other spirits. In the case of Knockando simply a little patience is required. Exposure to the air in the glass, within a few minutes, softens the bite and mellows the taste. What you are left with is a very flavourful drink that is contrast to some Scotches that start mellow and quickly lose what flavour they had. Knockando is a very morish Scotch Malt. I have often sat down to enjoy an evening of pleasant company only to find the bottle much reduc
ed in volume at the end. Fortunately I have never suffered any unpleasant after-effects as a result, an indication of a pure, quality drink. Not my all-time favourite but very close and a very agreeable alternative when the occasion demands.