Cardhu Single Malt — a major component of Johnnie Walker blends — has been out of U.S. liquor stores for years — not since 2003 has a single malt version of Cardhu been for sale in the U.S. (A controversial “pure malt” expression of Cardhu — a blend of single malts from various distilleries — was available for awhile, but it was a much different product than this.)
Now Speyside’s Cardhu (hugely popular in Spain) is back with its 12 Year Old single malt expression, and it’s a lively one worth trying.
Cardhu 12 Years Old is made in a light, sweeter style, uncommonly rich with honey. The nose adds lavender and heather to the sweetness, but that sugary richness in the body is hard to overpower. Like a higher-tier Johnnie Walker, it turns out to be a simple and easy-drinking whisky, best suited as an aperitif or as a simple mixer.