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Cardhu: Where Pure Malt died in Scotland

By Miguel in Featured , Cardhu
Cardhu distillery
Cardhu still house
Elizabeth Cumming

Cardhu is the most famous whisky in Spain and the soul in the Johnnie Walker Blended Whisky. It is also the responsible of one of the most polemic moves in the whisky industry: the Cardhu Pure Malt.

It is a Speyside distillery, near Archiestown, Morayshire. It has been called for many years Cardow. Cardhu whisky makes up an important part of the Johnnie Walker blended whisky.

Cardhu was founded by smugler John Cumming in 1824. It started as a farm distillery and worked as a seasonal basis harvest had been gathered. The distillery was run mainly by his wife, Helen Cumming, who sell the bottles to passers-by at their farm. When John died in 1846 he was succeeded by his son Lewis and Lewis’ Wife. The production was of 623 litres per week.

In 1885 the distillery was rebuilt on a new piece of land and run by Elizabeth Cumming, a daughter-in-law of Helen. The old stills were sold to William Grant who set up Glenfiddich with them. Now Cardhu was able to produce three times more whisky, much of it was bought by Johnnie Walker and Sons for their whiskies. On 1893, Elizabeth sold the distillery to Johnnie Walker on the condition that Cumming family would continue the day to day running of the distillery.

The distillery was expanded to four stills in 1897.

In 1960 most of the distillery was rebuilt: the still house, the mash house and the tun house.

It was the first single malt to be promoted by DCL.

Due to the increasing sales and the lack of stock Diageo decided to introduce Cardhu Pure Malt, a blended malt whisky, with an identical label and box to the single malt whisky. The move created so much controversy that Diageo had to take a step back and remove the product. The SWA ( Scotch Whisky Association ) wrote the rules about Scotch Whisky and banned forever the term pure malt as it was misleading.

Cardhu take its water from water springs in Mannoch Hill and the Lyne Burn. It uses unpeated malt from Burghead maltings and mature their stock mostly in refill ex-bourbon hogsheads.

It has now three wash stills and three spirit stills.

The production is around 2.3 million litres per year.

These are my bottles of Cardhu




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