Younger than some of the more famous Scottish distilleries, Knockdhu was founded in 1893 by John Morrison in Banffshire. The location was chosen not only for access to water and grain sources, but due to proximity to rail lines in the region. Production lasted for the most part continuously for almost a century, before it closed and sold to Inver House. Production began again in 1989 and continues unabated. Annual production is on the smaller side, around 1.9 million liters (18% of The Glenlivet’s annual output). The whisky is named anCnoc (gaelic for “the hill”) to differentiate it from Knockando, with a core range of 12, 16 and 30 year malts, along with a NAS peated range.
Loved or hated, flavored whiskies have been on the market for quite some time in various guises. This particular dram is pretty unique. In Canada, it is called Dark Horse but a conflict of trade names in the US means the version we picked up goes by Dark Batch. Made by the largest rye whisky producer in North America, it is a 50-50 blend of two Canadian ryes, aged 6 and 12 years. This rye blend makes up 91% of the total. Another 8% is Old Grandad bourbon, with the last 1% sherry. Yes, not ex-bourbon or ex-sherry casks for finishing, but actual bourbon and sherry. This whisky is so unlike anything we’ve ever tasted, we simply had to try it for ourselves. Of note, the majority of its marketing promotes it primarily for cocktails.
Against all expectation, the end of this past June marks the fourth anniversary of the first time the original group of us got together, before we even called ourselves Scotchology. Before all kinds of hi-jinks, travels, and tastings. And despite the best of intentions to make this an annual sort of thing, it has been two years since the last update. It seems like a long time since June of 2013, when four of us began to regularly meet for the expressed purpose of exploring single malt scotch together. We’d never have dreamed we’d find ourselves where we are now. Wait, where are we?