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Found at the heart of the Speyside region, Cardhu was originally operated by Helen Cumming as an illicit distillery named Cardow, one of the early female pioneers of the whisky industry. The story goes that when the taxman came around, Helen would distract them with food, whilst raising a red flag up a pole to alert neighbouring distillers of the danger.
Cardhu has, of course, long gone straight, and was the first “official” single malt to be released by Diageo’s forerunner, Distillers Company Limited. At the time, Helen’s great-grandson was the company president – a family affair indeed!
These days, the Cardhu distillery is known for a grassy, citrusy and fruity character that encapsulates the Speyside style. The distillery has risen to be one of the most popular in Southern Europe, and is the designated ‘Home of Johnnie Walker’. It remains one of the most important blending distilleries in Diageo’s stable, with much of the spirit ring-fenced for blends – meaning that cask strength, rare releases like this bottling are all the more precious.
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The whisky opens with a tropical profile of pineapples and peaches, soon followed by lemon sherbets, pears, Granny Smith apples, and a little peppery prickle. Soft shaved oak adds depth.
A creamy, medium body brings the fruit flavours of the nose, here juicy and succulent. A building cinnamon note is joined by honey, buttered malt, sultanas and thick vanilla custard.
Medium to long, with rolling black pepper, cinnamon-spiced apples and subtle vanilla-oak lingering.