Cardhu: Gold Reserve (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 40% ABV)

Visual: Honeyed gold with thick streaks from the spirit.

Nose: Caramel. Thick. Stewed apple. Sugar dusting. Honey. Menthol touch. Cake sponge. Water brings out lemongrass.

Body: Apples. Honey. Pears. Light alcohol sheen. Cake sponge. Toffee. Water makes thinner and lightly grassy.

Finish: Honey and pears. Cinnamon. Alcohol sheen. Raisins. Water adds menthol and peppermint. Grassy. Light pear drops.

Conclusion: Huh, this is actual one of the rarest things I can encounter in drinking. A whisky where water did not improve it. That really is a rarity. In fact it really is fairly weak with water. Thankfully the base without water is pretty solid. A good thing or this would have been a right wash out of a whisky.

Neat it is fairly simple, but pretty joyous in what it does bring. It is honey struck layered over green fruit in the form of apples and pears. Feels wise it has a light alcohol sheen – not really a burn, more a hint of blended whisky style sheen. Now this is not a blended whisky, it is a single malt, so at the risk of sounding like a total whisky snob I can but attribute it to some young whisky having been used to make this no age statement whisky.

So anyway, to finish the notes I’ve gone and poured myself another measure – it is better this way – the original measure had been so thinned by the water that it had lost the bright flavours and become just a grassy, menthol touched thing. Not terrible, but kind of empty.

Now with a neat measure back in my hand it has a bunch of big flavours, a nicely thick feel – though with slightly young spirit style rough edges. The grassy and menthol notes still come out over time, but now just as backing notes.

Overall, better than my previous expedience with Cardhu – some simple, crowd pleasing notes, but rough edged. Not worth the RRP of 40 quid. At the significantly cheaper price I dropped on it – yeah , it is a simple fun whisky at that cost. Nowt special, terrible with water but an ok general drinking experience neat, with a few rough edges.

So, an ok fallback drinking whisky, but nowt special.

Background: I had tried Cardhu 12 year along while ago, and wasn’t really impressed with it – been looking for a chance to do notes on something from them recently, but was a tad nervous about investing a chunk of change into something that I may not enjoy. Thus, this no age statement which I think is one of their new core range, which was on sale cheap at Morrisons, seemed like a good chance to give them another try without breaking the bank. Being childish that I am, the fact the bottle says “The Cummings of Cardhu” in reference to its founder John Cumming, and the Cumming family who have run it since, did make me snigger. I will grow up one day. Put on a random bunch of Madness when drinking – nice light ska tunes, nowt too heavy (heavy monster sound, the nuttiest sound around..etc..etc.).

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