Cardhu whisky is still very much aimed at countries like Spain, where it has a big following as one of the widely available single malts, next to Macallan and The Glenrothes for instance.
This Cardhu 2008 was part of the Special Releases 2020. We had a 2004 last year, and that was really good. This time It was matured in refill American Oak casks, as well as virgin casks and ex-bourbon fresh-charred hogsheads.
Cardhu 11 yo 2008 (56%, OB Special Releases 2020, American oak)
Nose: fresh and vibrant, with a nice sourness of Granny Smith apples, lime and unripe pineapple. Lemon icing on a vanilla cake. Meadow flowers, herbs and lightly floral oak. Ginger and suble heather honey as well. Coconut flakes. Nice and easy.
Mouth: clean and pleasant with a fairly tart fruity side again, almost a hint of citric acid, mixed with some (virgin) oak spice. Mid-palate it turns towards sweet lemon candy, honeyed breakfast cereals and light biscuity notes. Almonds. White pepper. A very subtle bitter edge, like grapefruit peel or IPA beers.
Finish: medium, drier and quite grassy now, with limoncello, vanilla cream and peppery notes.
Cardhu is a name that is easily ignored in a Special Releases line-up, but this is actually one of the nice surprises in the 2020 selection. It shows an immaculate freshness and a kind of apéritif style, very vibrant and pleasant. Check The Whisky Exchange or Master of Malt (who also offer a 3cl sample if you like).