This is the last of the 2021 Special Releases that I had on my desk: the Cardhu 14 Year Old. Although this is only disclosed in marketing material, this single malt was distilled in 2006. Initially matured in refill American oak, it was then finished in red wine casks.
The brand focuses on specific markets like Spain, but in general the Special Releases from Cardhu are quite enjoyable. Let’s see…
Cardhu 14 yo 2006 (55,5%, OB Special Releases 2021, red wine finish)
Nose: fairly mild and pleasant, with a sweetness of butter pastry in the back, a big malty middle and a piercing floral note in the foreground. Waxy lemons, crisp green apple and hints of white grapes. As time goes on, the fruits shift towards red apples and berries. Hints of caramel and subtle nutmeg too.
Mouth: sweet, creamy and spicy. Candy apples, stewed plums and poached pears. Slightly artificial strawberry candy. A good dose of caramel sweets too. More floral notes, as well as subtle herbs which later become grassy notes. Oak spice sets in, mainly clove and cinnamon, with a peppery kick.
Finish: not too long, still quite sweet and candied, with toffee and white pepper.
Cardhu produces solid drams that never seem to stand out much. Even the red wine finish (often tricky) doesn’t really change that view. If you like sweet and spicy whisky, check it out. Still available from The Whisky Exchange or Loch Fyne and plenty of local stores.