Cardhu Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Cardhu is a Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky and forms part of Diageo's Classic Malts of Scotland series.
Cardhu has a colourful, controversial and somewhat swashbuckling history, even by Scotch whisky standards. Cardhu whisky distillery was officially established in 1824, but the owner John Cummings had been producing illegal moonshine on the same site for at least 13 years, and smuggling whisky for many more. The nitty gritty business of distilling was carried out by John Cumming's wife Helen in an outbuilding of their farm near Archiestown, in the highlands of Morayshire. Helen would make whisky as a means of using up surplus barley at the end of the season, and would sell it to passers by through a window in their farmhouse. The Cumming's farm was ideally situated for whisky production, amid rolling fields of barley and situated up Mannoch hill above the River Spey, where the peat soil softened the water.
The poachers-turned-gamekeepers soon found themselves doing very well indeed and wound up the farm in order to turn the Cardhu whisky distillery into a profitable family business. Cardhu had its big break in the 1880s when they caught the attention of Johnnie Walker. In the 1870s the Phyloxera beetle had devastated the vineyards of France and as a result the international cognac industry had collapsed. Scotch whisky rapidly rose to fill this gap in the market. By 1885 Johnnie Walker and Sons were producing the world's most popular blended whisky (as they still do today) and demand was increasing fast.
Cardhu distillery was able to meet this demand by extensively rebuilding the distillery, enabling them to triple their annual output - the old stills were sold to William Grant for use at his distillery at Glenfiddich. Thus the canny Elizabeth Cummings (daughter in law of Helen & John) was able to secure an enormous market for Cardhu whisky. In 1893 Johnnie Walker bought the Cardhu distillery outright, on the condition that the Cummings were still able to produce single malt whisky on the site. To this day Cardhu remains a key constituent of the Johnnie Walker range of Blended Scotch Whisky.
In 2003 Diageo, the new owners of Cardhu distillery, caused a scandal by ceasing single malt production and in its place issuing a "Pure Malt" Cardhu made of whisky from at least four distilleries. The outcry from amongst whisky lovers and within the industry was enormous, and questions were asked in parliament about the potential damage to the integrity of single malt production. Faced with international opprobrium and falling sales, Diageo withdrew Cardhu "Pure Malt" from production and reinstated Cardhu single malt whisky in 2006.
Today, Cardhu single malt whisky is still hugely popular, especially in Spain and France and has one of the most attractive bottles of any widely available Scotch whisky. It has a warm, clean, silky character embodying the very best of Speyside whisky tradition. The most popular expression is the 12 year old bottling. As a result of the amount of Cardhu whisky which ends up in Johnnie Walker bottles, independent bottlings of Cardhu are virtually unknown.
To buy the Cardhu range online at the best whisky prices, look no further than this page. We've scoured the internet to present you with pretty much every Cardhu bottling available online - so there's no need to shop around.