Thanks to /u/effective_frame [+1] for sharing this dram with me.
I’m bad at statistics but I find them really interesting.
Something about figuring out how a seemingly random set of data points and making sense to them gives some calmness to my anxiety. As such, each of my reviews is kept in a Google sheet that tracks my stats to help make sense to the review scores.
This also means we can pick apart specific questions others may only have qualitative answers to: For instance, “what’s your least favourite distillery?”
Someone asked, and I initially thought it would be Tomintoul. I was incorrect, and in fact I dislike Cardhu the most. But maybe the answer doesn’t end there.
How many Cardhu have I reviewed? Only two, and that’s because there’s one distillery bottling I have access to and they release a special edition maybe once per year. Which bars don’t typically buy and serve.
Why not pick up independently bottled Cardhu? Well unfortunately those are few and far between. At the time of writing this, there are 188 Cardhu whiskey on Whiskybase, and 145 of them are distillery bottling. In comparison, Caol Ila has 4,996 whiskies, of which 267 are distillery bottlings.
That’s quite the difference. So it’s not surprising and therefore I shouldn’t feel bad. Now to repeat that in my head over and over and maybe I’ll believe it.
Thus I count myself very lucky that I’m able to review Cardhu 27 1975 Signatory Vintage Rare Reserve. Somehow, back in the early aughts, the company gave up a single Sherry butt of Cardhu that was 27-years-old. Perhaps they were still getting over the president getting his smallpox vaccine weeks before.
I don’t know, I looked up what was happening near the date this was bottled and that was the most impressive thing.
But does it taste good? Or have I set myself up for a bad time, given my level of happiness with Cardhu? Let’s see, shall we?
Price: Go find an auction, young doe/buck/deer
Cask type: Sherry Butt
Cask number: 3962
Number of bottles: 548
Colour: 2.5YR 5/8
Nose: Candied cherry, dark chocolate, molasses, ginger, blueberry pie while it’s being baked
Wow, really rich. So first up, more of the sugar that I’ve had in other Cardhu, however there’s elements of smoke in the form of cocoa and molasses and ginger. Lovely butter note that gets stronger and stronger.
Also eventually there’s a really strong blueberry note that you typically find when you cook the buggers. That’s assuming I allow them to be cooked. My love of purple fruit with incorrect names knows moderate bounds.
Taste: Raspberry, molasses, ginger, pomegranate, guava
Tart, more smoke, less complexity. Gone is the bitter balance, left is a lot of fruit. Okay, maybe it’s not that rough, I’m just sad there’s no more blueberry notes.
I do enjoy the sudden tropical aspect. That said, this tastes like a ton of fruit and not so much up to the age statement of the whisky.
Finish: Dark chocolate, mineral, black pepper, cinnamon
Alright, bitter chocolate is back, nice mineral and heat, and then… not so much. That’s too bad. Water really is needed here, otherwise it’s just the end of a dark chocolate bar.
Which isn’t a bad thing, I should say. These days that’s the vast majority of chocolate I have. If there’s no weed in there, milk chocolate is just sad.
Conclusion: Water brings this alive like a hit from the early aughts. Wait, don’t dunk your old CDs in water, that’s not the joke.
I love the nose on this. That’s what blew me away, because nothing ever labelled “Cardhu” has ever smelled this good. While I’m a tad sad the taste was mostly just fruit, and the finish is a tad simple, I’m frankly annoyed that Cardhu doesn’t do this.
This whisky is like finding out your friend can dance as well as Fred Astaire (look it up young person) and decides not to because they can floss for quarters one a day a week on the street corner. It’s so much better than any other Cardhu I’ve ever had! They could be making this and it’s just… not getting out?
Nonetheless, if you too would like to see what Cardhu should be like, this isn’t a bad pick.
Scotch review #1603, Speyside review #455, Whisky Network review #2330