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Collection: Knockando Distillery

Winner of the Queen's Award for Export Achievement in 1985


Knockando sits on a high wooded bank of the Spey where viewed from the opposite side of the river, the pagoda-head, shoulders and whitewashed flanks appear from the dense tree-foliage that clusters closely around them. Knockando supplies much of the malt content of J & B blended whisky, one of the world’s biggest-selling brands. The parish was the home of the Grant brothers upon whom Charles Dickens based his Cheeryble brothers in Nicholas Nickleby.

The main office at Knockando still has a Victorian charm.  Knockando distillery was built in 1898 just as the whisky crash was looming and the original owners had to sell out very soon afterwards. Gilbey’s, forerunners of IDV who now own it, acquired the business in 1904 so Knockando has been in the same hands for most of its existence. When the old malt barns went out of use, assorted local events took place in them. One such was a flower show in the 1930s, which was opened by the British Prime Minister, Ramsay Macdonald; when the company won the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement in 1985, another premier, Margaret Thatcher, was on hand at the distillery to receive the billionth bottle of J & B Rare to be produced.

The floor maltings were discontinued in 1968 and turned over to warehouse space. The owners now take lightly peated malt from local maltsters. There are two pairs of stills.

Knockando distillate intended for blending ages at any distillery in the group where there is room to store it. Distillate for bottling as a self whisky, however, is always warehoused at the distillery, a certain proportion in sherrywood.