Whisky Magazine Issue 45
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Say the word ‘Cardhu' and it stirs up images of underhand dealings. But the distillery intrinsically linked to last year's scandal is charming and impressive, and its staff outstanding. Ian Buxton reports
Cardhu may have been around for the best part of 200 years, but it's a fair bet that more has been written and broadcast about this Speyside distillery in the past 12 months than in all of the rest of its
distinguished history. Not that this blizzard of opinion, rumour, spin, gossip, innuendo and invective necessarily added very much to the sum of human knowledge but it certainly left its mark.
I refer, of course, to the great debate surrounding Cardhu's moves from a single to a ‘pure' or vatted malt, and the restoration of the distillery's original name, Cardow – both now being reversed. As the dust begins to settle on a divisive and painful episode in the history of Scotch whisky, I journeyed to the source of the controversy to find out more.
And, it seems, I took the road less travelled. Despite all the publicity and a welcoming visitor centre only around 8,000 of us actually make it to Cardhu itself. But there you'll find as interesting and
impressive a distillery as any and a group of folk passionately committed to the traditions and quality of the product they make.
I spent time in the company of Andy Cant, Cardhu's new group manager (he also looks after Knockando and Cragganmore); visitor manager Helen Gardiner and Ian Williams, who oversees the superb Johnnie Walker Brand Home.
The connection with the Johnnie Walker brand is a long-standing one. Under its original owners, the Cummings, Cardhu's whisky was eagerly sought after for blending. One such customer, a...