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Image Credit: TripAdvisor



Roselyn Thomson
*Distillery Manager



Barrel Head


Barrel Head

head whisky maker(s)

Barrel Head


Barrel Head

Year Founded

Barrel Head


The Cardhu distillery's history dates back to 1811 when John Cumming and his wife Helen took over a farm known as Cardow. They soon ventured into illicit whisky production while using the farm as a lookout for moonshiners in Glen Livet. Legend has it that Helen would distract gaugers (revenue officers) while alerting fellow moonshiners with a red flag when the authorities approached. Cardhu is also credited as one of the first Speyside distilleries to obtain a license after the passage of the Excise Act in 1823.

Elizabeth Cumming, Helen's daughter-in-law, took over in 1872, overseeing a complete overhaul of the distillery in 1884. She sold the old stills and waterwheel to William Grant, who used them in building the Glenfiddich distillery. By 1888, Cardhu single malt was already available in London, in addition to being a favorite among blenders. In 1893, John Walker & Sons, a long-term customer, purchased the distillery with the agreement that the Cumming family would continue to manage it and hold a seat on the Walker board. The distillery expanded from two to four stills in 1899 and then further to six in 1960.

Cardhu became an essential component of Johnnie Walker blends and, from 1981, marked DCL's (now Diageo) initial foray into modern-era single malt branding. However, in 2002, challenges arose when projected single malt sales in Spain and France exceeded the distillery's capacity. To address this, Cardhu was briefly labeled as a vatted malt but was later returned to its single malt status. This incident led to changes in Scotch whisky labeling regulations and the introduction of the term "blended malt."

-Written (Mostly) by Robots-

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