Cardhu 12 Year Old


Roundly praised among whisky and cigar aficionados this twelve year old Speyside single malt is used extensively in Johnnie Walker blends. Lauded for its gentle character and fruity notes, expectations run high given the $75 price tag.

Nose: Pears, candied fruit, brown sugar, and a little bit of pepper and orange zest after it opens up. The nose of this unquestionably unremarkable dram is undeniably its finest facet.

Palate: Light hints of dried fruit are easily eclipsed by cloying leather and pepper. The palate is flat, an abomination unworthy of an alliteration.

Finish: Whisps of cocoa are briefly present. Rubbing alcohol vapours are obvious, and obviously unwelcome.

Overall: Retailing for an absurd $74.95, the bottle would be merely adequate at half the price. Luckily the LCBO has hundreds of bottles at the ready. What it lacks in quality and interest it will surely be made up for in curb appeal, shelf upon shelf stacked with the distinctive bottle. Seven weathered whisky drinkers unanimously favour a similar dram, the Glenfiddich 12YO, some $30 cheaper, and in contrast, really quite enjoyable.


This is the favourite Scotch of a friend of mine, and it perplexes me - I agree with your assessment! Any thoughts as to why there are suddenly so many bottles at the LCBO right now? I visited Cardhu distillery in May (which is beautiful) and they told me that, because so much is put into Johnnie Walker, the only single malt bottlings left are exported to Spain, where it is a huge seller. So I wonder: does the deteriorating Spanish economy account for a surplus of Cardhu bottles worldwide?

Interesting theory Tom. Certainly quite plausible.

What I'd like to know is why it is so drastically dull when compared to classic Cardhu bottles from the 70's & 80's, and especially vis-a-vis great single cask bottlings that we've seen recently from the likes of the SMWS.

Ah, the mysteries of the whisky world.

Yes, the SMWS has a 27 year old that is delicious. 'Tis a pity.

Agreed on both fronts, the 60's and 70's were high time for Cardhu. By the time the 90's rolled around their malt was mostly trash, typical of Diageo.

BTW the I second the SMWS bottling 'Bottled Essence of Summer' It rekindled my love of Cardhu. Shame they can't seem to bring that kind of quality to the table.

Leave a comment


Whisky Wheel

OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID