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Cardhu, Diageo’s best selling single malt Scotch whisky, was originally founded in 1811 by a notorious whisky smuggler called John Cumming. The Cardhu distillery sits high on the Northern banks of the river Spey in Moraytown, overlooking the imposing mountain range, Ben Rinnes. John licensed the distillery a year after the Excise Act of 1823, thereby ending his illicit operation.

Cardhu was purchased for £20,500 in 1893 by John Walker and Sons, who latterly became purveyors of the renowned Johnnie Walker blends. In 1930, the distillery was acquired by Distillers Company Ltd who later became part of Diageo. Today, Diageo use the vast majority of the Cardhu spirit in their Johnnie Walker blends and less than a third is matured and bottled as single malt.

Following the massive demand for Cardhu Scotch whisky and the resultant difficulties in meeting said demand, Diageo vatted the Cardhu malt with that from other distilleries, naming the whisky Cardhu Pure Malt. This generated heated debate as to the definitions surrounding the terms ‘single malt’ and ‘vatted/blended’ and as to what was to be considered a ‘pure malt’. Today, there is but one independent bottling, from Signatory, though there is a good range of single malt, as well as the Cardhu Pure Malt, which, it has been alleged, includes some whisky from Glendullan.

Cardhu Whisky Distillery

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About Cardhu Whisky Distillery

Distillery Number

01340 872555

Distillery Founded


Distillery Capacity

2 390 000 litres

Distillery Status


Distillery Owner


Distillery Address

Knockando, Aberlour, Moray AB38 7RY

Distillery Website


The whisky smuggler John Cumming founds an illicit distillery.


John Cumming applies for and obtains a licence for Cardhu Distillery.


John Cumming dies and his son Lewis takes over.


Lewis dies and his wife Elizabeth takes over.


A new distillery is built to replace the old.


John Walker & Sons purchases Cardhu for £20,500 but the Cumming family continues operations. The whisky changes name from Cardow to Cardhu.


The name reverts to Cardow.


Administration is transferred to Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD).


– Reconstruction and expansion of stills from four to six.


The name changes to Cardhu once again.


A visitor centre is constructed.


The popularity of Cardhu leads to supply problems for Diageo. They decide to change Cardhu single malt to a vatted malt with contributions from other distilleries in it.


The whisky industry protests sharply against Diageo’s plans. Diageo negotiates a compromise with Scotch Whisky Association.


Diageo withdraws Cardhu Pure Malt.


The 12 year old Cardhu Single Malt is relaunched and a 22 year old is released.

Reproduced from the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2009 with the kind permission of Mr Ingvar Ronde

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Cardhu 12 Year Old
(70cl, 40%)
A well-balanced, gentle single malt from Speyside. Cardhu 12 is a very well put together malt.  More info
User Rating:  (52 Reviews)
Cardhu Gold Reserve
(70cl, 40%)
Cardhu is the latest Diageo distillery to have a little core range shake up with the launch of a no age statement single malt (or two). Created using hand-picked toasted oak casks, Cardhu Gold Reserve...  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
Cardhu 18 Year Old
(70cl, 40%)
A well-aged Cardhu, this 18 year old Speyside single malt retains its characteristic gentle nature allied with greater complexity and richness.  More info
The second release of Cardhu as one of Diageo's popular Special Releases, this 21 year old Speyside single malt was matured in bourbon casks. Fewer than 6,000 natural cask strength bottles are...  More info
Cardhu Amber Rock
(70cl, 40%)
Cardhu's Amber Rock single malt Scotch whisky is double matured in toasted American oak casks, resulting in a full bodied whisky, packed with vanilla, citrus and oak-y notes. The is inspired in part...  More info
The Cardhu Special Cask Reserve features whisky taken from "very old oak casks", presented in their classic, handsome bottle. Top Speyside whisky from a long-standing (and outstanding) distillery.  More info
This is a bottling of Cardhu single malt Scotch whisky, which we believe was produced in 1981 - the same year Cardhu reverted back to using the name it's released under today (instead of Cardow). It's...  More info
A 1980s bottling of 12 year old Cardhu single malt Scotch whisky, presented in its distinctivly stout, square(-ish) bottle.  More info
Cardhu 15 Year Old
(70cl, 40%)
Aged for 15 years, this is a delightful expression from Speysider Cardhu. Allow this one to come to you, and you'll discover layers of fruity, toffeed magic.  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
The famous Cardhu 12 year old presented in a charming leather pouch.  More info
User Rating:  (2 Reviews)
A rare old edition of Cardhu 12 year old. The Speyside distillery produces smooth, supple whisky.  More info
User Rating:  (5 Reviews)
A special release from Cardhu. This is part of Diageo's Manager's Choice range with a single cask release from each of their 27 malt whisky distilleries. After much tasting a consensus was reached as...  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
A lovely little gift set, this contains a full-sized bottle of the malty, easy-going Speyside whisky, Cardhu 12 year old, as well as a branded tasting glass.  More info
A fantastic 27 year old Cardhu from Diageo's finest popular and now sadly discontinued Rare Malts Selection. Natural cask strength, from the finest casks and, even more so than its name intended, its...  More info
A 1984 single cask Cardhu, bottled at natural cask strength by Duncan Taylor for their wonderful Octave cask range of whiskies finished in smaller "Octave" casks. This gives the maturing spirit...  More info

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