The story of the Knockdhu distillery starts with a man of vision (who also had an eye for a good investment).  In 1892 an enterprising chap named, John Morrison, bought the Knock estate. The surrounding land was full of peat and barley and the Great North Railway line ran nearby. So when springs of pure, clear water were found.

Samples of the water were sent for analysis and soon negotiations were under way with The Distillers Company of Edinburgh to build a distillery. Knockdhu opened its doors in October 1894. Back then it was regarded as the perfect embodiment of a modern distillery. So it’s perhaps no surprise that we still produce a light, intriguing and thoroughly modern whisky to this day.

The anCnoc 12 year old is renowned the world over. Known as a must-have in any whisky drinker’s collection, it’s light and yet complex. Smooth yet challenging. And each twist and turn delivers a surprise. In fact, this is a dram that has something for everyone.

This first sample of the entry-level 12 year expression was generally approved-of, with tasters noting many fruits ranging from fresh spring berries to tropical fruits and flowers. The 12-year-old expression is aged in a mix of bourbon and sherry casks. Here are my notes from the event.

Colour: Gentle amber with a slight yellow hue.

Nose: Soft, very aromatic with a hint of honey and lemon in the foreground. First whiff is of raspberries and cream. Lemon meringue. Definitely honeyed. Light and floral. Later, I get a bit of peaches: perhaps peach schnapps. A drop of water revives the nose and pulls out lots of green apple.

Taste: Sweet to start with an appetizing fruitiness and a long smooth finish. Light yet complex, smooth yet challenging. This is a dram that has something for everyone.

Body: Light and unfortunately watery. Upfront are bananas dipped in caramel sauce, developing into dry haw or straw, and finally some bitter notes: not citrus but woody: green sap or freshly-cut pine or birch logs. A dash of water may amp up the sweet honey character.

Finish: Is initially sweet and caramel-heavy, which fades into honey and those bitter green sap and oak notes, which remain to the end of the medium length finish. Leaves me thinking about a bitter digestive – perhaps a hoppy aftertaste