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Cardhu Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Cardhu Distillery, Knockando, Aberlour
Banffshire AB38 7RY Scotland
Tel: +44 (0) 1340 872555 Fax: +44 (0) 1340 872556
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Cardhu Distillery - Photo Courtesy of CardhuIn 1811 John and Helen Cumming sited their first still at Cardow Farm on Mannoch Hill, high above the River Spey. At this location, spring water, naturally softened by rising up through a layer of peat, bubbled from the ground. It is alleged that Helen Cumming distilled the first gallon of Cardhu, the only malt whisky to be pioneered by a woman. For many years Helen Cumming produced only the smallest quantity of malt whisky in Cardhu's little still as quality was her chief concern and she continued to contribute to its success well into her 90s.

Elizabeth Cumming, Helen's daughter-in-law, took over the managment of the distillery in 1872 when her husband died and ran it with energy and foresight. Under Elizabeth's direction, a new piece of land was acquired on which the distillery was rebuilt in 1885. Sales of Cardhu tripled in the space of a few years and by the end of the 19th century, Cardhu had attained a reputation as one of Scotland's top malt whisky distilleries.

Cardhu has made a unique contribuiton to the success of Johnnie Walker Blends. In 1893 when the Walker family wanted to guarantee the quality of their Blends, at a time of rapid growth, they negotiated the purchase of Cardhu Distillery from Elizabeth Cumming to secure supplies for blending. Elizabeth's son, John Fleetwood Cumming, was appointed to the Johnnie Walker Board. His skill as a Distiller complemented the talents of the Walker brothers, George and Alexander II, who brought both the artistry of blending and entrepreneurial drive to the Board. Together they made a team that ensured the growth in international popularity of the Johnnie Walker Blends.

Cardhu is the luxury single malt whisky from Speyside. It is produced in limited quantities by a deliberately slow distillation process, and matured for 12 years in specially selected oak casks. It may take longer than many malts to reach fruition, but it is time well spent, as can be judged by Cardhu's exceptionally smooth and mellow character.

The malt itself – which is presented in an elegant decanter with a beechwood stopper - is pretty typical of a Speyside malt. It is highly approachable – smooth, sweet, mellow and uncomplicated and often described as silky. It has good body and length. Interestingly, the distillery is the only place in the UK where you can buy Cardhu™ single malt – which, naturally, adds to its very special nature. It’s a taste that is obviously popular as it is known and loved all over the world. Such is the Photo Courtesy of Cardhupopularity of Cardhu Single Malt in Spain that worldwide demand has outstripped the capacity of this small distillery, with the result that its malt is sadly no longer available in many countries.

Cardhu is owned by Diageo.


Courtesy of Cardhu Distillery


Cardhu 12 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Photo Courtesy of Cardhu

Appearance: Golden honey.

Nose: At full strength, heady, nose prickle, pear drops and tightly integrated heather, resin and sweet honey-nut notes. Enticing. Intriguing. With a little water, still harmonious but less pronounced, allowing some malt-cereal, soft, spicy wood, moorland and faint traces of wood-smoke to appear.

Body: Soft, pleasing, medium.

Palate: Palate Well balanced, smooth mouthfeel; short punch, sweet and fresh, then a pronounced drying effect. Enjoyable at any time, with little or no water.

Finish: Quite short. Some lingering sweet smoke in the attractive, drying aftertaste.

Tasting Notes Courtesy of Cardhu Distillery

Cardhu Whisky Distillery
Cardhu Distillery - Photo Courtesy of Cardhu

Cardhu Distillery – previously called Cardow – must be one of the best located distilleries in Speyside. High on the hills on the north side of the Spey Valley with extensive views to the south, it is set in attractive grounds ideal for picnics (complete with picnic tables). It was founded in 1824

By the time John Cumming bought a license for his Cardhu distillery in 1824, he and his wife Helen had already been producing illicit whisky for 13 years. Whenever the Excise officers passed by, Helen would disguise the mashing and fermenting as bread-making. Then, while the officers drank the tea she made for them, she would fly a red flag from the barn to warn their neighbours that revenue men were around.

Once the distillery was officially licensed, John and Helen Cumming continued to value quality over quantity. Their son and daughter-in-law, Elizabeth, followed in their footsteps. The qualities of the malt they produced became essential to John Walker and Sons (of Johnnie Walker fame – unsurprisingly). So much so, in fact, that in 1893, Cardhu was the first distillery that they bought – although it was still run for a time by John and Helen’s grandson, also called John.

By the end of the nineteenth century, Cardhu™ had gained a reputation as one of Scotland’s top malt whisky distilleries.

Senior Site Manager: Andy Cant

Opening Times
October to Easter
Monday to Friday 11a.m.-3p.m.
Tour Times: 11a.m., 1p.m. and 2p.m.

Easter to June
Monday to Friday, 10am - 5pm.
Tour times: Tours run approximately every half hour.

July to September
Monday to Saturday, 10am - 5pm.
Sunday, 12 noon - 4pm.
Tour times: Tours run approximately every half hour.
(Closed between Christmas and New Year.)

Last tour is ONE hour before closing.

There is an adult admission fee of £4 which includes a £3 discount voucher redeemable in the Visitor Centre Shop.Children under 18 are free of charge. Children under 8 years of age are welcome, but will not be permitted to the production area.

Contact Us
Cardhu Distillery,
Knockando, Morayshire
Email the Cardhu Distillery
Tel: +44 (0) 1340 872555 Fax: +44 (0) 1340 872556

Courtesy of Cardhu Distillery