The single malt produced at Knockdhu distillery is today marketed under the name anCnoc, Gaelic for “the hill” - presumably the same hill that gives the village, simply called “Knock”, its name. The name change, though scarcely an improvement when it comes to pronunciation for non-Gaelic-speakers, was an effort to distinguish the product from the nearby Knockando distillery (whose name derives from Cnocandhu, “little black hill”, as opposed to Cnocdhu, simply “black hill” - you can see why they chose to change their name!). The distillery traces its roots to 1892, when the estate’s new owner discovered a fresh water spring on the eponymous hill’s slopes. The story goes that he sent a sample of this water to be analysed in an Edinburgh distiller’s laboratory, which confirmed its outstanding quality and offered to buy the site: a distillery was built the following year.
AnCnoc’s style, as befits its location, bridges Speyside and the Eastern Highlands, with a lively maltiness complemented by honeycomb, spice and fresh flowers. Recently, they have experimented with producing a whisky lightly peated to 22ppm for a few weeks each year, resulting in a limited edition range of expressions named after peat-cutting instruments.