A Guide to Cardhu
History and heritage
Founded by Helen Cumming in 1811 as an illicit distillery and licensed in 1824, Cardhu is the first distillery to be officially pioneered by a woman. Two women, in fact: in 1872, Elizabeth Cummings, daughter-in-law of the founders, took over the running of the distillery and set about refining the flavour and character of the whisky we know today – the effortless, elegant, generous spirit, born of hard work and determination.
The origins of Cardhu trace back to 1811 when John Cummings and his wife Helen took over the lease of Cardhu farm. Like many of their farming neighbours, the Cummings took to illicit distilling, with Helen Cumming cleverly outwitting excise men by inviting them into her home, disguising the fermenting as baking, then slipping outside to alert her fellow distillers by flying a red flag.
By 1823 the excise laws had relaxed, and John Cummings obtained a distillery licence, marking the official founding of Cardhu in 1824. In the years that followed, Cardhu very much became a family business, with all their sons all having a part to play in the business. Elizabeth Cummings resolved to keep the running of the business after the death of her husband, the Cummings’ eldest son, in 1872.
In 1893, Elizabeth sold the business to John Walker & Sons with the one condition that the family would still run the distillery. Before her death, Elizabeth had cottages with running water built for employees at the distillery, ensuring Cardhu remained at the heart of the community and keeping her mother-in-law’s legacy alive.
Cardhu is now one of the world’s leading single malt Scotch whiskies, distilled in one of the first legal distilleries on Speyside.
The brand’s most renowned expression is Cardhu 12-year-old with its rich, smooth, honeyed fruity flavours and light spiciness. Other variants are available for different styles and tastes.
Cardhu is a generous, multi-layered malt whisky, with rick fruity, honey and nut flavours.
A great way to showcase the special flavours of Cardhu is in this take on the classic Old-Fashioned cocktail.
Visit the Cardhu website for more information.