A few thoughts on the Diageo / Cardhu thing.
Diageo made a decision to change Cardhu from a Single Malt to a Pure Malt because they were in the enviable position of demand exceeding supply.
They informed the relevant people and organizations as to their intentions.
And people got hysterical.
Then Diageo agreed to alter packaging of their product.
And people were still hysterical.
Then Diageo announce that Cardhu Pure Malt will disappear and Cardhu Single Malt will return (albeit only in certain markets)
And people are hysterical.
First things first.
Cardhu is a brand – it is also a distillery, it is also a whisky, but in the big picture it is a brand – and it is the owner’s right to do what it will with its own brand.
To the best of my knowledge, Pure and Single Malt and the differences between them are not enshrined in law, certainly not in International law, but are generally accepted, terms. If consumers do not fully understand the differences between and the subtleties of these terms, then that is the consumer’s problem (with a huge deal of responsibility lying with the Industry who actively exploits the lack of clear and defined label regulations). It is not Diageo’s problem.
It appears that the Mediterranean markets where Cardhu is most popular don’t care a fig for the differences between Single and Pure Malt. They’re buying a product and buying into a brand image. So long as it tastes good with cola or ginger ale it’s O.K..
The people who do care a fig for the differences between Pure & Single Malts know the difference, are surely aware that the change has take place, and can choose from hundreds of other Single Malts, if they only want the single malt experience. So what’s the big deal?
For those that suggest that this was just a large promotional exercise – why? Cardhu Single could not be supplied in sufficient quantities, Cardhu Pure is to disappear and Cardhu Single when it returns will not return to many markets. Where do Diageo get a benefit?
For those that suggest that if Diageo had not reversed their decision to sell Cardhu Pure that it was the end of the whisky industry, or at least the Single Malt category – why?
Will someone give one good reason why and how this could happen.
And if you have a good argument think about these points:
Are distilleries not allowed to change anything to do with their Single Malts? What about water source (Bunnahabhainn), what about barrels (pretty much all distilleries)?, what about bottling location? What about distilleries themselves (Clynlish)? Take Ardbeg as an example. General consensus is that recent bottlings of Ardbeg have lost the pungency of old Ardbegs. Should Glenmorangie/Ardbeg be made to sell these Ardbegs under a different name?
And what about MacPhails? Lovely whisky, but produced at a secret location!!
Here’s another question. Blended Whiskies. Are all the components exactly the same in every batch? I think not. Does that impact on the blended whisky market? I think not.
To summarise – what’s the big deal.
There are perceptions to do with whisky held by large numbers of people that are totally without basis. The “Industry” is happy to exploit this for its benefit. Is it fair to criticize one organization for bathing in the murky waters?
Diageo own Cardhu. It is their baby. They should be able to do with it what they will.
If you don’t like it don’t buy it!