Today, thanks to some top-quality work by Inver House, the previously staid-looking packaging of the old Knockdhu is a distant memory and an Cnoc is one of the most dynamic and exciting malt whiskies around, with new releases and core range bottlings receiving praise from across the industry.
ABOUT KNOCKDHU DISTILLERY
Knockdhu distillery is situated in the Highlands of Scotland, on the very edge of the Speyside region in a small village called Knock. The distillery itself was founded in 1894 after the discovery of several springs were discovered on the nearby Knock hill.
The knock hill is known to locals as anCnoc, this comes from the Gaelic black hill. Transformed by the weather, the heathers and other vegetation appear black due to the natural shadows on the hill.
When the distillery was opened in 1894 is was seen as a showpiece with its two pot stills turning out 2,500 gallons of spirit per week. The pot stills are made to the same design today, producing the unique spirit that was produced over 100 years ago. In 1988 Knockdhu became the first distillery that Inver House Distillers purchased, thus becoming the dawn of a new era for the company.
As with other distilleries within the Inver House Distillers group the methods of producing the whisky have changed very little since production began all those years ago.
A traditional cast iron mash tun is used in the mashing process although not as efficient as its modern counterparts it is similar to what was first used.
Wooden washbacks made from Douglas fir are preferred to modern stainless steel, again these are less efficient, but are reflected in the character of the finished Scotch Whisky product. There are six in total each fermenting batch sizes of 21500 litres.
Importantly, the worm tub has not been replaced by a modern condenser. The worm tub at Knockdhu is 100 meters of copper coil in a water filled vat. The importance of worm tubs is that they preserve the sulphur compounds. The sulphur compounds then react with the char layer on the casks and this is what gives anCnoc its depth, body and butterscotch aroma.
The barrels at Knockdhu come to rest in traditional dunnage warehouses. The thick walls, made from local granite, ensure a stable temperature.
From the website
anCnoc continues to flourish as a favourite of the whisky connoisseur given its quite unique characteristics. It is light yet complex, smooth yet challenging, with each twist and turn delivering a surprise.
Production of anCnoc began at the Knockdhu Distillery in 1894 following the discovery of several springs of the purest, crystal clear water on the southern slopes of th Knock Hill. At this time two pot stills could turn out 2500 gallons of spirit per week, motive power being supplied by a 16hp steam engine. Cottages were built for the workers and their families, creating a new community around the Distillery. Much has been done to modernise buildings and machinery, but very little has changed in the distillation process. The two originally designed pot stills remain, giving Knockdhu the same traditional, distinctive flavour as was first tasted more than 100 years ago.
It has a soft, aromatic nose with a hint of honey and lemon in the foreground. It has an immediately recognisable amber colour and is sweet to taste followed by a fresh appetising fruitiness and a long smooth finish.
Knockdhu Distillery nestles under the dark 'Knock Hill', known to the local villagers by its Gaelic name of 'Cnoc Dubh', which provides the source of the pure clear spring water for the malt. At certain times of the year, the hill appears black when seen from the distance, the heather is magically transformed by the soft light, wind and weather. Hence the name Knockdhu from the Gaelic Cnoc Dhubh meaning 'black hill'.
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