Could it be that the fate of the Breaker of Chains on Game of Thrones was signaled by spirits behemoth, Diageo? You see, as part of their Game of Thrones whisky marketing gimmick they matched House Targaryen with the Cardhu distillery. The natural pairing would have been with the one highly smoky whisky in the lineup; but that Lagavulin was given to House Lannister who really should have been paired with this release of Cardhu Gold. As it happens, House Lannister survived the ending of Game of Thrones while Daenerys Targaryen’s corpse was probably dropped into the sea when Drogon absent-mindedly flexed his claws mid-flight. Her heel turn prior to her demise shocked a lot of people—it had been signaled but not properly developed on the show—but we should have seen it coming, No house is going to rule a continent that has as its namesake whisky an artificially coloured malt from a minor distillery bottled at 40%. Daenerys Targaryen deserved a better arc on Game of Thrones and a better whisky too. All men must die, as that cheerful Valyrian saying goes, but it does not follow that all men must drink mediocre whisky while still among the living. Continue reading
Like most people, I have not had very many whiskies from Cardhu. This is because there are very few whiskies from Cardhu for people to try. Even the redoubtable Serge—who just posted his 14,000th whisky review—has reviewed “only” 34 Cardhus. And Whiskybase lists less than 100 different Cardhus—and most of those are different incarnations of the 12 yo (which I have reviewed and liked—almost five years ago). At any rate, if there exist people who can confidently tell you what the characteristics of Cardhu are at different ages, from different decades, and from different cask types, I am not one of them. I’m sure those people exist, by the way—and as per the comments on my review of the 12 yo, they’re probably in Spain, where Cardhu is apparently a very popular malt. As the only other Cardhu I’ve ever had is the 12 yo this is both the second and the oldest Cardhu I’ve ever had. It was bottled by the SMWS in 2012 and they called it “Lovely sweet toffee surprise”. That sounds rather promising; let’s see if it’s what I get. Continue reading
Cardhu is another in Diageo’s extensive portfolio of Scottish distilleries. Located in the Speyside, Cardhu is a pretty old distillery but has maintained a fairly low profile in single malt form–Whiskybase records very few independent releases from Cardhu and the Malt Maniacs database lists even fewer. This 12 yo is the only regular official release I think, and it has only relatively recently made its way to the US. I’ve tried it on a couple of earlier occasions but in social settings where I couldn’t really pay attention to it; and so I’m happy to be able to spend some time with a large sample.
Cardhu 12 (40%; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Honeyed malt and heather. Bright and fruity: some citrus and some sweeter fruit (peach? cherry?). A little grassy as well. Gets sweeter and maltier and creamier as it sits; more vanilla too now. With even more time the fruit gets musky. A very nice nose, especially for a young whisky bottled at 40%. Water brightens the nose up a touch. Continue reading