Cardhu is a very special distillery in the portfolio of Diageo, since it is their biggest selling malt (Spain and France mainly), but when talking to other enthusiasts the response isn’t all that…well enthousiastic. There is only talk of old bottles of Cardhu. Since 2006 a special cask reserve is issued, which isn’t welcomed with open arms, but since it sells so well, it must be the ultimate entry-level whisky. Personally I don’t like it.
Founded in 1811 by the illicit distiller John Cumming, who became legal in 1824. In 1884 the old distillery is replaced. Purchased by John Walker & Sons in 1893. Then in 2002 a small revolution took place. Cardhu, the whisky was silently changed into a vatted malt. (Several single malts blended together). The bottle and the label stayed the same, just the word ‘single’ changed into ‘pure’. Well this didn’t last long, in 2004 the ‘pure malt’ was withdrawn. Luckily in 2005 this 22yo was issued.
Nose: Hmmmm, smooth. Sweet mocha. Fatty milk chocolate. Very elegant wood. Noses sweet and yes, smooth. It doesn’t seem overly complex, but is does smell very balanced. Everything fits and is instantly likeable. Hint of mens cologne, and an even smaller hint of sweat. Great!
Taste: Sweet and malty, with a sweet/spicy kick, and a peppery, warming, yet still sweet finish, with some butter and cream. A combination to die for. Very good. The wood profile is great, it’s there, but some components aren’t. Not a lot of bitterness, some sourness, but still it’s there with its spiciness. Again not overly complex, but all that’s there is great! Apricots on syrup are presented very late in the finish, excellent vegetal and green finish. Even though the fight between the sweet and sour seems a bit unbalanced, it is very interesting.