Cardhu - 12 Year OldSpeyside Malt Whisky
John Cumming converted the familial farm called Cardow into a distillery round 1810. He used the barley produced by the farm and he produced his own peat. The proximity of the river Spey ant the surrounding hills were assets for a distillery. He began as a moonshine distiller.
The hills were a place of safety in case the excise men would "visit" him. The controls were frequent, and John's wife, Helen Cumming helped her husband with a successfull stratageme. She used to receive them very well, and to invite them for dinner. When they arrived, she put a red flag behind the barn. As long this flag was visible, John knew the excise men were still present, and he waited before coming back to the farm.
In 1824, after the promulgation of the Excise Act, John decided to purchase a licence for the production of his whisky. This made made marketting of his spirit quite easier.
During the 19th century, the distillery was rebuild 3 times. John Cumming's daughter in law, Elisabeth took the management of the distillery in 1876 and contributed to its success.
She built a new distillery near the farm, and sold stills to a certain William Grant, who was on the point to found Glenfiddich. As most of the distilleries, Cardhu closed during the second world war.
Renewed in 1960, the numbers of stills growed from 4 to 6.
The distillery was called "Cardow Distillery" since 1981. The Cardhu malt is currently one of the best sellers world-wide. About 30% of the production is sold as single malt, the remaining entering in blends. Cardhu is the basis of the Johnnie Walkers blends, Red, Black, Green and Blue labels.
The commercial succes is so great currently that it was at the origin of many discussions in the whisky world in 2003. UDV is not able anymore to satisfy all the demand for Cardhu malt, and decided to market vatted malt instead of single malt without changing the packaging. The other procuders were furious, and after lots of discussions, UDV decides to change the colour of the label of Cardhu Vatted malt to avoid confusion for the customers, and depreciation of the image of single malt.