Cardhu, which means ‘black rock’, is situated at Knockando on the Craigellachie to Grantown road, very much in the heart of Speyside. The distillery was first licenced in 1824 by one John Cumming, the owner of Cardow farm. The distillery was made famous by John Cumming’s daughter in-law, Elizabeth, who rebuilt the distillery in 1872. This made her the first female distiller in Scotland, and her hospitality had a glowing reputation. Diageo continue this hospitality today as Cardhu is now the spiritual home of Johnnie Walker. ‘Cardow’ is the anglicised name for Cardhu and occasionally independent bottlers use this name, as did the owners Diageo for a brief period in late 2003 to early 2004. The vatted/pure malt controversy made Cardhu famous, and might yet make the short-lived red pure malt expression a collectors item.
Double matured in toasted American oak casks, the new no-age-statement release refers to the Gaelic translation of the brand’s name, which means “black rock” and was chosen to highlight the expression’s “golden, jewel-like” colour. The liquid is amber gold in colour. The sweetness of pears, tropical fruits and vanilla. The bouquet then reveals notes of white chocolate and almonds. The palate is spicy, sweet and fruity with notes of lemon and oak. The finish is long and creamy with a recurrent sweetness.