Malt of the Month – Cardhu 18 Year Old

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The picturesque Cardhu distillery, located in the heart of Speyside

They’re big whisky drinkers in Spain, and while blends such as Ballantine’s and Johnnie Walker are the top sellers, one single malt has a huge following, too: Cardhu. Head into any half-decent bar, and it’s odds-on there’ll be a Cardhu available – in fact, the Spanish account for 75% of all Cardhu drunk around the world.

Cardhu is still a mainstay of Diageo blends – the distillery is known as ‘the spiritual home of Johnnie Walker’ – but thankfully, Cardhu has been given the chance to shine as a single malt in its own right.

The 12 Year Old is the best-known Cardhu bottling; with its honey-tinged fruit and soft, approachable style, it has generated a loyal following. This month, however, we are concentrating on its big brother, the 18 Year Old. The 18yo is a grown-up version of the 12: the fruit is richer, plus there are intriguing notes of leather and dark chocolate in there.

As it’s our Malt of the Month for February 2015, you can pick up a bottle from us for just £61.95, a saving of £10. Here’s what the Cardhu team say about it:

Cardhu 18 Year Old

Cardhu 18 Year Old – £61.95 this month (normally £71.95)

Appearance: Burnished copper.

Nose: Not forward, yet attractively ‘natural’ and in time rich, balanced and very complex. Macerated fruits; pears, plums, cherries. Hints of pineapple develop a light, green, gooseberry-like edge. Delicate scents of wild rose, menthol and polished leather rise above a soft base of Christmas cake or buttery pastry. Water opens it all up elegantly, without altering the main themes.

Body: Rich and smooth-textured.

Palate: A smooth and sweet taste, unctuous, yet with light and lively acidity. The soft, delicate, fruity core is cradled by rich, chocolate-edged flavours, the texture, chocolate and fruit combining to evoke a cherry liqueur chocolate truffle. Warming overall, it’s softer with water, when the balance of tastes remains the same, though lighter.

Finish: Exciting and complex, the conclusion is long, smooth, gently drying and rich in cocoa.

By the way, if you ever get the chance to visit the distillery, it’s well worth a trip. Cardhu’s location is prettier than most, set among green fields just north of the River Spey. If you can’t get there, then treat yourself to a bottle of their 18 Year Old and enjoy a taste of classic Speyside.

Posted in Scotch Whisky, WHISKY & WHISKEY


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