Saturday, 26 May 2012

Whisky Discovery #113

Cardhu 12 Year Old (40%abv, OB Bottled 2012 70cl)
Speyside Single Malt
Circa £30.00 70cl

Cardhu 12 Year Old
This was the first whisky tasted in the first Master Class event I have been too. Colin Dunn, Diageo Ambassador supremo took us through 'The Magnificent Seven' during the recent Whisky Lounge Fest event in Stratford upon Avon.

The Cardhu Distillery, previously called Cardow, is said to be one of the best located distilleries in Speyside, being located high on the hills on the north side of the Spey Valley with extensive views to the south. Originally founded by husband and wife John and Helen Cumming, by the time they bought a license for his Cardhu distillery in 1824, they had already been producing illicit whisky for 13 years.

Legend has it that 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.

This distillery remained in family hands and the quality of their malt was highly regarded and became essential to John Walker & Sons, (yes, The Johnnie Walker) that it was the first distillery that they bought in 1893. Nowadays 95% of the malt produced at Cardhu goes into the production of Johnnie Walker Black Label. the worlds most popular blended Scotch whisky

You don't often see this on sale in the UK, certainly I haven't seen it on the supermarket shelves, Colin told us that it is extremely popular in Spain. Presented in an elegant short square decanter with a beechwood stopper and said to be pretty typical of a Speyside malt.

So What did I think?

I managed to pick up the remainder of the bottle from this master class and had the luxury of revisiting this at home, but reviewing the notes I scribbled down during the day I was getting some coconut on the nose, it was fruity in the way soft pears are, and some liquorice. We spent a good time with this first malt of the session. We nosed it and tasted it neat, then we added a drop of water, which turned it smooth and creamy. Colin told us that, in his opinion, this whisky was great with shortbread. I love shortbread (who doesn't?) and I think I would enjoy this with shortbread too. When I revisited this at home I started to get the chocolate on the nose, and gently cooked pears. It's sweet malty flavours reminded me of my Mum's flapjacks - not the ones she overcooked that would break you teeth, but the soft ones that melted in my mouth. Another very pleasant discovery.

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