In 1892, John Morrison purchased the Knock Estate and farm. Shortly after, he uncovered a spring on Knock Hill’s southern slopes. He found the water to have a superb flavour and sent it to a Distiller’s Company Limited-owned Laboratory in Edinburgh for evaluation. They confirmed the water was indeed of outstanding quality and put up an offer for the site. Morrison gladly accepted. The Knockdhu distillery was built in May of 1893 and designed by the Elgin-based architects Gordon and Macbey.
The distillery was the first to be built by Distillers Company Ltd. The water is piped from Knock Hill to the distillery and also to those living in the local village, though today five other water sources are used in supplement as well as that from the Ternemney Brook, which proffers the distillery’s cooling water. The capacity is small; the distillery’s pair of stills produce around 900,000 litres yearly. Today, none of the whisky is bottled as Knockdhu single malt. Rather as anCnoc. The name anCnoc (meaning "Black Hill") was chosen as the current owners, Inver House, deemed Knockdhu too similar to Knockando and relabelled it to avoid confusion. Despite being small, the Knockdhu whisky distillery boasts large onsite storage facilities; its five warehouses have space for 7,600 casks.
In 1930, Knockdhu was transferred to the hands of Scottish Malt Distillers, who closed it a year later. The distillery then reopened in 1933, but closed for the Second World War. During this time the buildings were used to accommodate soldiers from India. Inver House acquired the distillery in 1988 and two years later released the first official bottling. A further three years passed and the first bottling of anCnoc was released. Inver House were, in turn, acquired in 2001 for £124 million. In 2006, Inver House became a subsidiary of Thai Beverages Plc. Knockdhu whisky is distilled from unpeated malt, though for several weeks each year a lightly peated malt of 22ppm is used.
Nose: Aromatic, quite robust. Honeysuckle, fresh flowers, cereals, barley.
Palate: Medium, good sweetness. Madeira, winter spices, mocha, Crème de Cacao, herbal hints and toasted granary bread.
Finish: Medium length, great interplay between oak and barley.