Whisky Connosr

Cardhu 12 Year Old Single Malt

None for me, thank you!

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@jwiseReview by @jwise

8th Jan 2011


Cardhu 12 Year Old Single Malt
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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I have had this bottle for a little while now, but I kept it up at the local cigar shop, to enjoy while burning down a stick with friends (new and old). I never really gave it a proper review, as I never brought it home to enjoy. Well, I was in the other day and noticed the bottle was very nearly empty, so I figured if I didn't bring it home now, it was going to go the way of the do-do bird and never get reviewed.

I've finally found the time to sit down with a dram, and give it the attention it deserves, so here goes:

The color is pure sunlight, and the body in the glass appears heavy.

Nose: As I have been writing the intro, the sweet malty aroma has been filling my nostrils! This whisky has a wonderfully "malty" aroma, indeed! Now for the proper nosing: Plenty of flora on the nose, with some ripe fruit as well (pear, honeycrisp apple?) There is a malty base to this whisky, with just a bit of sea air coming out in the background. The nose is really well-balanced, much better than I remember (could have been all that cigar smoke in the air!) I'm looking for any trace of smoke, but I just can't seem to find any. No peat. Nothing offensive. I'm reminded of lavender and lilac. Swirling the whisky after letting it sit reveals a bit of barley/grain. I'm getting just a bit more sea air, but no amount of oak. This really has a nice nose on it!

Body: Light body, with a watery feel. No real structure that holds up.

Palate: A faint bit of spice hit the front of the tongue. Not lively at all. A steady flavor of grain and herbs.

Finish: medium-long, with a very malty finish. The fruit is gone. The sea air is missing. Spices? Yeah, a little. I go back to the nose, and there it is: ripe fruit and a bit of sea air. I go back for a taste: not very lively in the mouth, with a strong malty finish. Just a bit of spice coming out on the finish, but not a lot. The finish is a bit "gritty", coating my mouth with an oily texture. I swish my tongue about trying to clean off the roof of my mouth, but its not working. That taste is just stuck there...

For as nice of a nose this whisky has, the flavors just don't show up at all on the palate. I think I might just sit here and nose it for the rest of my time. I would enjoy it more than drinking it. Hmmm... I've still got a full dram's worth of liquid in the bottle (which may be the nicest part of this whisky, as the bottle is really sharp!)

I poured most of this bottle into other people's glasses at the cigar shop. I confess this was not just an act of hospitality, but I just didn't really care for this whisky, so I wanted the bottle gone as quickly as possible! Near the end of the bottle, I actually brought up an Aberlour 10yr for myself and other whisky enthusiasts to drink, and gave the Cardhu away to those who knew no better (like the chap who shot it like a cheap tequila!) Oh well, what did I care, it was only Cardhu... ;)

Frankly, this isn't my cup of tea. I think I made that clear. However, if you like a whisky that is heavy on the malt/grain flavors and light on the honey/vanilla flavors, this could be your perfect whisky!

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Hogshead commented

@jwise the concept of a shop at which you can store your whisky intrigues me! Tell us more...

13 years ago 0

jwise commented

Well, its a cigar shop with a large lounge area in the front, and walk-in humidor in the back. In the humidor, they have a china cabinet with some really nice cigars in the glass case (top). In the bottom of the cabinet, they allow select customers to use that space as a storage cabinet for our whisky. At times, there is anything from Jack Daniels to Balvenie 21yr Port Wood, and everything in between. Everyone respects each other's whisky, but the habit is to share when you are there. If you get stingy with your whisky, they might not let you store it there (its kind of a service to the shop, allowing customers to share with each other and building community). Its my favorite place to go!

13 years ago 0

Bigt commented


That sounds really nice.

I have to admit that I agree with you on the Cardhu. It is not really my cup of tea either.

I went in to my local liquor store to by some Laphroaig Quarter Cask. The guy proceeded to steer me away from that and into Cardhu 12 instead. I get home and try it and I was very disappointed. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't offensively bad in anyway. It just lacked in the taste department if you ask me. I could have easily list a dozen selections that I would have preferred to drink at that price point.

On another note, I wish I had a nice cigar shop like that. As for me, we have a whisky club at work. On fridays at 5 we all get together and drink a bottle. 1 person brings something each week and we rotate. Its quite nice and a much cheaper way to try nice whisky.


12 years ago 0

TheFili commented

Hi jwise,

you saved me a bit of writing there. I was "note tasting" this yesterday, but came up mostly blank. And now I see that your nice review brings up all the points I may have been trying to make.

I agree with you on most of it, especially the nose being better than the actual taste. I might have given it a few more points, since it's not really get-this-stuff-away-from-me-bad, but to each his own scale.

So what this comment mostly boils down to: thumbs up, good review. :)

12 years ago 0