Whisky Advocate

Review: Cardhu 12 year old

July 27th, 2010

Cardhu, 12 year old, 40%, $43
This soft, bright, easy-going whisky is back in the U.S. market after being absent for several years. Very fragrant, with vibrant fruit (nectarine, plum, guava, pineapple, clementine), honeyed vanilla, and subtle macadamia. Fairly light (a pre-dinner or leisurely afternoon malt, perhaps?) but evenly balanced. A gentle introduction to single malts for the blended scotch drinker.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 83

10 Responses to “Review: Cardhu 12 year old”

  1. Red_Arremer says:

    Odd– that this not very overwhelming whisky is the whisky that was so popular that Diageo tried to sell it as a blend.

  2. Gal says:

    i hear it’s ultra popular in Spain.

    • two-bit cowboy says:


      I interpret Cardhu’s return to the USA as another of Diageo’s chasing-the-money tactics. When I tried to order Cardhu a couple years back I was told the majority of the production went to Spain because it was so popular there. Has the Spanish economy caused sales to drop? Is that why we’re getting it back?

      • Rodrigo says:

        I actually studied Cardhu’s case in the spanish market at the university. It’s a matter of marketing. In many countries, Glenfiddich is the top selling malt for the same reason Cardhu tops the spanish sales; marketing and distribution. Here you can find Cardhu in many bars and pubs, usually it’s the only single malt you can find. If you go to liquor shops they will probably tell you it isn’t their heavies seller, since they actually have several other matls to choose from.

  3. Ryan says:

    Red, there’s a lot of people that have very fond memories and a strong emotional connection to Cardhu. I can’t for the life of me understand why, but I’d suggest that they are the ones creating the demand for them to bring it back in. What’s more, it’s a pretty approachable inoffensive malt, so it’s very easy to sell to learner maltsters. John sums it up perfectly by saying “A gentle introduction to single malts for the blended scotch drinker.”

  4. Louis says:

    Various friends of mine have told me with great excitement that they found Cardhu on the shelves once again. However, this is the crowd generally goes for the likes of 12-18 year old Glenlivet and Glenfiddich. Not that I have anything against those two distilleries, but we are not talking about hard-core Malt Advocate types who are regulars here.



  5. PeterD says:

    My only really positive memory of Cardhu was that I proposed to the magnificent young lady I was dating at the time as we both shared a dram. The Mrs. still enjoys single malts today, although our tastes have matured in the 13 years since that night’s dram. I’m more an Ardbeg kind of guy and she’s a big fan of more sherried malts.

  6. John Hansell says:

    The Cardhu from the first round of the Manager’s Choice bottlings was pretty decent.

  7. H.Diaz says:

    Polished off a liter of the “old” Cardhu 12 y/o I bought duty free back in 2004, soon after the controversy about it changing to a blend under the radar. I thought it would be worth some money someday, but like other bottles I’ve kept for similar reason I said the hell with it, I’m gonna drink it. Surprisingly I liked it and may buy the “new” Cardhu 12 y/o.

    Now, I’m eye-balling my Murray McDavid Leapfrog I found a few months back on the discount shelf for about $40. Is it worth anything to a collector? Who knows, I can’t tell.

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