Knockando distillery information
The Knockando (From the Gaelic “cnoc an dhu”, which roughly translates into “little black hill”) distillery was established in the town carrying the same name as the distillery, on a north bank of the River Spey in 1898 by The Knockando-Glenlivet Distillery Co. (which was primarly John Tyler Thomson, an accountant and whisky broker from Elgin). The distillery itself was designed by famous distillery architect Charles Doig, and was the first Speyside distillery to use electricty for lighning. Production started at Knockando in 1899, but unfortunately, the whisky industry was turned upside down the same year by the Pattison crash, causing a great many distilleries to close, with Knockando being one of them (having been open for a mere 10 months).
Luckily W. & A. Gilbey, wine and spirit (primarily gin) merchants from London bought the distillery in 1904, paying a mere 3,500 GBP for it. The same year, Doig was brought in again, to increase capacity by adding two additional washbacks. In 1905, the distillery was connected to the “Great North of Scotland” railway. There’s really not much to report on the next few decades, other than the distillery closing down during World War 2. Otherwise, it ran pretty smoothly. Gilbey’s merged with United Winte Traders (themselves part of Justerini & Brooks (Or J. & B.)) in 1962, continuing under the name Independent Distillers & Vintners (IDV). The merger also meant that Knockando whisky would become a major part of the J. & B. Rare blends.
In 1968, the stills were converted to use steam heating, and the malting floors were closed. The following year, the distillery was largely rebuilt, with the amount of stills doubling from two to four. In 1972, IDV was absorbed by Watney Mann, who then themselves were taken over by Grand Metropolitan. Around 1977 / 1978, Knockando was first released as a single malt, later followed by some vintage releases.
By 1997, Guinness merged with Grand Metropolitan/IDV and formed United Distillers and Vintners, which would eventually become Diageo. From 2003 and onward, the spirit is transferred into tanker trucks, and transported elsewhere for filling . In 2005, Knockando is made part of the Diageo Classic Malt series (which originally included Craggainmore, Dalwhinnie, GlenKinchie, Lagavulin, Oban, Tallisker, but since 2005 also Caol Ila, Cardhu, Clynelish, Dufftown, Glendullan, Glen Elgin, Knockando and Royal Lochnagar.
Over 90% of the whisky distilled at Knockando is used in blends (primarily J. & B.). At the site, 1 version of each of the casks used in the J & B Ultima blend (created in 1994 to celebrate the quincentennary of Scotch Whisky, and containing over 128 whiskies) are maturing in the warehouses.
The current official core range consists of:
- 12 Year Old; containing whisky distilled in one single season
- 18 Year Old; matured in Sherry casks
- 21 Year Old
|Water source||Cardnach Spring|
+44 (0) 1479 874660
|Community||Friends of the Classic Malts|
|Mash tun||9.5 tonnes||1 (Full Lauter)|
|Washback||20,000 litres||8 (Oregon pine)|
|Wash still||16,000 litres||2|
|Spirit Still||16,000 litres||2|
|Expected yearly output in LPA (Litres of pure alcohol)||1,500,000|