Malt of the Month – Cardhu 12 year old

George, our very own Master of Malt, once again presents his Malt of the Month at The Wild Boar. It comes from the same home as the Johnnie Walker portfolio and is their most popular single malt, with a huge following in France and Spain. As with many of these now world-class distilleries, it had a fairly humble beginning…

Cardhu Whisky Distillery

John Cumming, a renowned whisky smuggler at the time, set up the Cardhu distillery in 1824. It is sited high on a hill above the River Spey, in what must be one of the best-placed distilleries in Speyside. The name ‘Cardhu’ comes from the gaelic Carn Dubh, translated ‘Black Rock’.

Cardhu Distillery by Callum Lewis-Smith licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5
Cardhu Distillery by Callum Lewis-Smith licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5

Cottage Industry

In the early days of the distillery, production was run by John’s wife, Helen, who sold bottles of whisky to passers-by through the window of their farmhouse. At that time, the distillery was run on a seasonal basis, after the harvest had been brought in.

In 1893, the Cumming family sold the distillery to Johnnie Walker and Sons on the condition that the family could continue the day-to-day running of the distillery. Cardhu distillery kept working under these conditions until the onset of the Second World War when wartime restrictions meant that it was harder to use barley for distilling purposes.

The malt itself – which is presented in an elegant decanter with a beechwood stopper – is fairly typical of a Speyside malt. It is highly approachable – smooth, sweet, mellow and uncomplicated and has good body and length.

Cardhu 12 Year Old 

Tasting Notes

CARDHU_Bottle_and_Box
Bottle and Box of Cardhu Single Malt Whisky by Grap licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

NOSE: At full strength, heady, nose prickle, pear drops and tightly integrated heather, apple, resin and sweet honey-nut notes. Enticing. Intriguing. With a little water, still harmonious but less pronounced, allowing some malt-cereal, soft, spicy wood, moorland and faint traces of wood-smoke to appear.

PALATE: Well balanced, smooth mouth-feel; short punch, sweet and fresh, then a pronounced drying effect. Enjoyable at any time, with little or no water.

FINISH: Quite short. Some lingering sweet smoke in the attractive, drying after-taste.

Whisky Tasting Evening’s at The Wild Boar

George Hutton, Master of Malt
George Hutton, Master of Malt

Join George at our regular Whisky Tasting Evenings at The Wild Boar.

Take a look at The Wild Boar Events page to find our more about the next whisky event.

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