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.
Dark amber in colour. Fragrant and quite grassy (hay). Light wood oil notes, almost varnish like with peach, strawberry stewed apple and green plum. With water there’s a toasty note, cigar box light caramel and a little mint. Interesting. The palate is a good feel medium bodied mixing a dominant crisp dried grassy note with orange peel, chocolate and a creamy mid palate. The finish is spicy with chocolate but dries fairly quickly.