Review: Knockando 21 Year Old 1994 Master Reserve
Category: Speyside single malt scotch whisky
Origin: Knockando Distillery
What they say:
As the Knockando Distillery Manager, I am proud to present an exceptional single malt whisky, Knockando Master Reserve. Whisky maturation is a mysterious art rather than a science. Only few single malts reach very old ages in casks without losing their character or quality. On rare occasions, time, nature and patience can create a truly remarkable single malt, and occasionally certain casks, specially reserved in our warehouses continue to improve well beyond our standard period of maturation.
Knockando Master Reserve comes exclusively from those carefully selected old oak casks, where our whisky has slowly matured undisturbed for over twenty years. The result is a single malt of exceptional depth and smoothness, balancing fresh fruity aromas and delicate oak flavours with a long creamy finish.
The Distillery of Knockando stands on the banks of the river Spey, which gives its name to Speyside, a region of Scotland long renowned as the home of the finest malt whiskies. Built in 1898, the distillery lies in the village of the same name, Knockando, derived from the Gaelic ‘Cnoc-an-dhu’ meaning ‘little black hill’.
Only the purest natural ingredients are used to make Knockando, according to the traditional methods of the distillery, honed by the years. Cask selection lies at the heart of Knockando’s expertise: gentle maturation in oak casks slowly reveals the subtle aromas of Knockando, 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 the Knockando distillery. Today, Knockando is still bottled one single ‘season’ at a time, and each bottle proudly states its year of distillation.
Patiently matured for over twenty years, this Knockando Master Reserve comes form a handful of selected old oak casks. A magnificent example of the distiller’s art, this truly exceptional single malt has an intense nose, subtle creamy palate and remarkable long finish.
– Duncan W. Tait Distillery Manager
What I say:
This 21 year old from Knockando was purchased for 3 reasons. 1; I have a certain fondness for this little-known distillery and their adherence to year vintages, more widely available in France than the UK market I have bought several bottles home including the 12 Year Old 1997. 2; 1994 was the year I moved to Scotland to start my undergraduate degree and so celebrates my 21 years living in Scotland and 3; An official 21 year old bottling for not much over £60 is getting pretty unheard of in the current whisky marketplace!
Dark bronze amber (11/20) slow, medium-sized droplets leave medium-fine legs
Rich, spiced with hints of dried fruit (think mince pie filling), soft leather, cocoa powder, cereal barley malt, black cherry and bramble jam, cinnamon and nutmeg, walnut, spices, fennel seed, mace, clove oil
Quite closed, polished highland toffee, caramac & tablet, butterscotch, with time a little fruit zest and biscuit malt open up, hints of soft leather sofas, light tobacco and cigar smoke, nutty walnut, almond and raisins begin to show, gently spiced.
Long, drying, trail mix; spiced nut & dried fruit mix, oak wood, slightly tannic & more polished toffee
Refined and very relaxed, this is a savouring malt and perhaps needs a little something paired with it to show its true flavour & depth, a little blue cheese perhaps? I expected more oomph (I don’t know why?). Well balanced but perhaps a little hard work getting the best out of it? Definitely gets better each time I go back to it…
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