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.
Old gold in colour. The bouquet shows a subtle, sweet and fruity whisky with aromas of berries, red fruits, apple, pear, vanilla, honey, coumarin, white chocolate, malt (Ovaltine), grains, toffee, strong tea with milk, floral tones, hay, grape seeds, white wine, a perfume tone, hint of orange, subtle spices and oak. A palate which is subtle, fresh and sweet whisky with aromas of white pepper, honey, vanilla, hint of coffee, tea, apple, pear, berries, hint of banana, floral tones, hint of toffee, cinnamon, subtle clove, dry tannins, grape seeds, subtle caramel and a hint of oak. A short, spicy and drying finish with aromas of white pepper, honey, fresh fruit, toffee, malt, tannins, subtle hazelnut and a hint of oak.