Friday, December 7, 2012

Cardhu 12 Year Old Scotch Whisky Review:

If any distillery comes to mind when I think of my trip to Scotland with my wife it’s Cardhu. Situated in a cluster of five distilleries, right off the River Spey, Cardhu sits high above the glen in which the other four linger. One of the most beautiful and easily accessible locations in Speyside, Cardhu surprisingly receives fewer visitors than the hard to reach Talisker on the outer reaches of the Isle of Skye. Nonetheless, Cardhu is still Diageo’s best selling single malt (with Talisker right behind) where the designation is upheld by the Spanish market. Yet, unlike Talisker, or any of Diageo’s distilleries, the historical significance and the designation of Cardhu as the spiritual home of Johnnie Walker makes it a completely unique experience. Located under one of the twin pagodas, where malting used to take place, is a special room(s) dedicated to everything Johnnie Walker – a place to impress the who’s who of the whisky world. Even though it is closed to the general public, the reputation of the bed and breakfast my wife and I were working at allowed us the privilege of venturing inside.

However, I couldn't say I was dazzled or impressed with a sense of, "I'm being let in on a Johnnie Walker secret," or anything like that. The place did have lovely interior and there was one room which was a sort of library/museum for JW that had a fire place which looked comfy enough to snuggle up to with a nice dram, but we unfortunately didn't get offered any samples – free samples being quite the common occurrence everywhere else (or at least included in most tours). Either way I digress. The time spent at the distillery and the Johnnie Walker House next-door was all worth it and it will be a cherished memory. Not to mention the farm of highland cows feeding near the entrance. Sooo, what about the review:

Cardhu 12 Year Old Scotch Whisky Review:

Price: Around $45.00 for a 750ml bottle.

Packaging/Labeling: A unique bottle to say the least, but I love the large cork stopper.

Alcoholic Content: 40% abv, 80 proof.

Nose:  A balanced nose of sweet and substantial smoked green apple, overripe pear, and lemon zest. Malty grain and damp oak.

Palate: Gentle sweet/dry malt, not an overly sweet palate such as Aberlour. This is syrupy. The peat is pleasant, almost non-existent – Leaves you with a dry lingering peat. As time passed some of that dark fruit and wood begin to come through – so pour it early and let it develop.

Conclusion: Without getting into the discussion of Cardhu's mishaps a few years ago when they began blending their main label, the single malt version has made quite the comeback. This is an everyday dram. It is not overly complex, nor is it boring. You will know what you are getting every time. I would suggest this as something to start the evening with. It won’t blow your taste buds away but it will always be pleasing. Add one single drop of water and it will brighten up the nose and palate beautifully.

 How better to end a blog post with a real highland cow! I cleverly named him Johnnie.

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