Drink Review: Cardhu 12 Year Old

October 6, 2020
2 mins read

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A much-loved single malt, Cardhu is an easy-going, charming Speysider. With clean, crisp oak and sweet malt evoking flavours of honeyed flapjacks and home-made caramel squares, this is one for the sweet-toothed among you.

While it’s not often seen here in the UK, Cardhu is the biggest selling single malt whisky in Spain, with its soft, sweet character the perfect match for the warm climate.

Cardhu 12 is the perfect drink for the summer – it’s great on its own, but why not try it with a block of ice, or served long with a splash of water, mizuwari style.

 Cardhu 12 Year Old Review:


Initial aromas are quite sweet, with notes of toffee and caramel, but these quickly dissipate to leave an aroma of clean-cut oak. There is also a hint of sherbet alongside the caramel notes.



The initial impact is very soft and gentle, with a very light mouth feel and a flavour reminiscent of new-mown grass and cornflakes crunched up by the milk.

This quickly changes to a more intense taste of freshly baked shortbread. The finish lasts a few seconds, with flavours of biscuit and toffee leaving a lasting memory.


Cardhu 12: Taste Experience

Founded in 1810, Cardhu was situated in the heart of Speyside, near Aberlour. Built as a French-inspired country manor, it has been the headquarters of William Grant & Sons for almost 200 years. In its early days the distillery specialised in distilling spirits from potatoes, thus it was initially known as Cardow Distillery.

After the Second World War the distillery, like many others, struggled to survive. Its prosperity was secured in 1950 when it was acquired by the William Grant & Sons group.

Today it is a thriving distillery, producing over 500 million bottles a year, equating to over eight million cases of whisky, the rest being sold as grain Spirit to a number of Speyside distilleries.

The Cardhu 12 is the flagship whisky of the group and is a product of the alternating stills used in the distillery, rather than the continuous stills used by more modern distilleries.

Cardhu 12 is an enjoyably sweet malt that is great to drink on the rocks or mizuwari style. It’s a great single malt for those first getting into whisky, or for those who enjoy a smidgen of sweetness in their whisky. (zolpidem) It has a light, fruity start that makes it just right for those not quite sure about malt.

Cardhu 12 Year Old Review:

Cardhu 12: Technical

Colour: Light gold

Aroma: Toasted cereals, corn flakes

Palate: Sweet generous mouth feel, clean and fresh with cereal notes, vanilla and light toffee

Finish: Sweet medium finish, cereal notes linger, light toffee

From the very start it specialised in distilling spirits from potatoes, creating a speciality that made the distillery famous the world over.

However, when the first pure malt distillery in Speyside opened in 1896, Cardhu quickly followed suit.

In the past, the hearts of its stills were also regularly replaced to ensure the texture of Cardhu’s share of spirit remained clean and light.

Cardhu 12, and the rest of the Cardhu range, has a light and gentle flavour, with a clean finish – ideal for those new to malt whisky.

Cardhu is a welcome bottle in the cupboard for those yearning for a light, fruity cask strength malt, or looking for a smooth, sweet sipping whisky to doze off beneath a warm duvet with.

Cardhu Memories

Fishing: Being that it’s so well-known in Spain, I took my father to Spain, where we stayed by the sea in a small fishing village. He took Mr Cardhu for a swim, and competed for stardom with the thousands of small blue fish that were jumping around on the lake. No fair; Mr Cardhu won a prize, with all the little fish looking on.

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