Cardhu… Never been a huge fan of Cardhu, not because it’s not a solid distillery, it’s just their bottles are not very thrilling, and the bottles look a bit ‘weird’ with their distinct shape.
I guess Cardhu enjoyed their moment of ‘Fame’ as they quarreled with the SWA, what we know as “Pure-malt Gate” 😉
In December 2003, parent company Diageo caused controversy by halting the production of Cardhu single malt and replacing it with a blended malt which they labelled a ‘pure malt’ using the same bottle design and label as its single malt. The decision by Diageo angered both consumers and other whisky producers who were worried that the single malt image would be damaged. Diageo responded to the criticism by agreeing to change the label style and color of their pure malt in order to avoid consumer confusion. Sales of Cardhu pure malt dropped substantially due to the change.
Anyways, this year’s edition is double matured in ex-Amontillado hogsheads, bottled at 14 years of age with an ABV of 55% – a nice change of pace. Let’s try that…
Cardhu 14 Year Old (Special Release 2019) , 55% , £120 (MOM)
Nose : sweet pastries and waxy lemon mix together nicely, then we get a burst of sweet caramel candy, sweet fruit, and even a whiff of cotton candy, the amontillado adds a nice sweetness to it all. more time in the glass reveals more floral qualities, mainly Chamomile blossom .
Palate: Sweeter and more powerful than the nose on the palate… with sweet fruit, golden syrup, toffee and more of the sweet caramelized apples, vanilla pastries, and some milk chocolate mingle well before spicier notes of mint / pepper / chili flakes and candied ginger push in. the floral side is only a far away memory now.
Finish : Some Amontillado sherry tannin, more chocolate, spices and wood, a hint of damp earth.
Conclusion: A very nice sipping whisky, Not something that will blow your mind, but definitely easy drinking even at 55% abv. Certainly not the best of the ‘entry level’ SR’s but very likable stuff.