The Cardhu 12 year old is gaining popularity among the whisky fraternity. It rarely gets more than a passing mention, which is a shame, since it’s a good whisky for a decent price. Often, 10 or 12 year olds from less popular distilleries cost too much for what you get, due to the reduced production. It’s refreshing that Cardhu have managed to put out a decent, affordable 12 year old whisky. Here in Australia I have never seen the Cardhu 12 on shelves, but I’m told that it’s extremely popular in Spain.
The nose of the Cardhu 12 is very ripe, like apples and pears that have been left on the windowsill in broad sunlight for a week. There is also faint vanilla, a good dose of honey, oak and lots of malted barley. It’s not a complicated nose and many beginners to nosing will be able to appreciate the strong malt and fruit flavors on show here.
The taste is sweet: vanilla, honey and more overripe fruit. It starts off sweet and dries out quite quickly. The taste is very similar to what the nose suggests, though less malty.
The finish is medium, with an initial fruity and spicy punch followed by vanilla wisps.
The reason for being so popular in Spain becomes apparent after tasting. This is a light, sweet whisky that would be wonderful for a beginner but terribly uninteresting for a seasoned Scotch drinker. The Cardhu 12 is like being told something mildly interesting, it may make you say “huh” and briefly interest you, but will not come close to gripping your attention. It must be stated that I’m not the biggest fan of the younger Speyside malts, so take this statement as you will.
Scoring this whisky is difficult, as I can’t recommend it enough for beginners who have tried perhaps less than five different single malt whiskies, and can’t recommend it less to people who like the more strongly flavored peat/sherry bomb whiskies. I think for what it is, and the price point it’s at, it’s a decent whisky worthy of respect that will hopefully gain larger market share outside of Spain.
Cardhu 12 Year Old Information
- Type: 12 year old single malt Scotch whisky
- Region: Speyside
- ABV: 40%
- Price guide: 35 pounds / 60 USD