Malt of the Month: July 2014
We choose our Malt of the Month to highlight some of the great whiskies of the world. Some are well known, some less so, but you can be certain that if it's our Malt of the Month, then you won't be disappointed. This month we've chosen:
Cardhu15 Year OldSingle Malt Scotch Whisky £40.95 (was £45.95) Web Exclusive Price Buy Now
A much-loved single malt, Cardhu is an easy-going, charming Speysider. This has been aged for longer than the regular 12 year old expression, and the extra three years combine the distillery's characteristic orchard fruit, barley-sugar malt and cake spices with richer tropical fruit and vanilla notes.
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 15 is the perfect drink for the summer – it's great on its own, but its weightier body means that it happily stands up to a block of ice, or a longer serve with ice and water, mizuwari style.
Producer's Tasting Notes
- Appearance: Deep old gold.
- Nose: Slow to give of its secrets, with mere hints of a fruity richness and spicy complexity to come. A swirl of the glass releases enticing, clean vanilla notes and tropical fruit. Soon, fruits are dried (light fruit cake with flaked almonds). Adding water brings out typical Speyside character, and makes the nose slightly more acidic. Late on, at last, greater depth and complexity: sweet, spicy and rich, finishing with dense toffee and toasted coconut.
- Body: Light to medium
- Palate: Slow to venture forth and quite viscous straight. Cooling, then peppery and lightly charred. Growing richer, still sweet, but now with toffee and chocolate; burnt sugar on a crème brûlée. With water, less viscous and sweeter with almost no acidity; very pleasant and easy to drink.
- Finish: Smooth, light and slightly drying, with attractive bitter chocolate notes. Not overlong, with a hint of faint smoke at the end.
Licensed in 1824 by whisky smuggler and illicit distiller John Cumming, Cardhu sits high on Mannoch Hill, near the village of Archiestoun in the heart of Speyside. The distillery was famously run by Cumming's wife Helen, and subsequently their daughter-in-law Elizabeth, two of the first female distillers in Scotland. The Cummings rebuilt the distillery in 1885 and sold it to Johnnie Walker in 1893, with the condition that the family would continue to run it day to day.
While only small amounts of Cardhu reach the single malt market, it is much prized by blenders, being a key component of Johnnie Walker blended whiskies. Most of the single malt that is released goes to Spain and Portugal, where it is the biggest-selling brand. The soft and sweet nature of the spirit goes well with the climate of the Iberian peninsula, and it's an excellent warm-weather dram the world over.