Cardhu 11-year-old

Overall rating
Whiskybase ID
Single Malt
Distillery Bottling
Bottling serie
Diageo Special Releases 2020
Stated Age
11 years old
ex-bourbon fresh-charred American Oak hogshea
56.0 % Vol.
700 ml 750 ml
Added on
30 Aug 2020 11:18 pm by Likudi
Cask Strength

Average value

£ 78.97

46 × in wishlist

174 × member ratings

429 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Cardhu 11-year-old

39 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 86.05 points

  1. hs305 scored this whisky 89 points Connoisseur

    [October, 2020] I did not like most of Diageo's 2018 Special Releases while I enjoyed many of the 2019 Special Release bottlings very much. This year's editions are of a rather chequered quality again so it seems the only consistent thing about Diageo's Special Releases is the yearly average price increase of about ten per cent. Therefore I changed Diageo's marketing claim from "Rare by Nature" to "Greedy by Nature"...

    ...and this bottling is the one that comes closest to a somewhat reasonable price point (which from my perspective would be around 60 Euro). This Cardhu is an excellent example of an young but already mature Speyside dram which displays the fine distillery character at its best. It is not drowned in heavy woods as it happens often with these rather subtle and delicate profiles, to me this is the best pick out of this year's Special Releases.
    • Nose
      89 89
      The colour is jonquiripe corn and the nose offers a fresh and surprisingly mature profile for an 11-years old Speyside dram. It shows fine impressions of citric fruits and yes, Serge - this reminds a little of Rosebank (and I like it, too). Beside this there are honeys, barley sugars and some spicy wooden notes in the background. All is nicely balanced and without any off-note. After some breathing floral and waxy impressions join in while the lemons stay loud and clear, perfect. This is interesting to explore, no doubt.
    • Taste
      89 89
      The taste is simple but impressive on fruits, honeys, waxes, spices and molten barley sugars. No flaw, no imbalance and all is greatly chewable despite there are no layers to detect (but this is very hard to achieve after 11 years of maturation only). Water releases some bready aromas in the nose (sourdough) and turns the taste much smoother with some chocolatey notes (hence more quaffable). I like to explore this dram neat but after that I prefer to drink it reduced to about 45% abv.
    • Finish
      88 88
      The dram arrives warming and hot (due to the high abv) on the palate and immediately coats all of the mouth with a creamy texture, a fine mouthfeel indeed. The finish is of medium length and adds some tasty bitter impressions of hops which remind me of my favourite beer (Jever). No distracting moments here, all goes down easy and enjoyable until the very end. And yes Serge - I can comprehend your Rosebank analogy.

  2. thijs100 scored this whisky 83 points Connoisseur

    The nose provided such a good start—truly excellent—but the virgin casks had too much of an impact to my liking.
    • Nose
      Fresh, vibrant and with plenty fresh fruits, mainly of the citrus family, as well as a touch of floral sweetness. There's a good amount crème brûlée and vanilla, but some quince and pear skin too. Finally just a whiff of peanuts.
    • Taste
      A buttery mouthfeel, but the new oak certainly has left its mark on the palate. Roasted peanuts and almonds, but it's also rather peppery, while there are touches of oat cookies. Water brings out notes of honey, melon and some bitter touches.
    • Finish
      It's not until the finish that some soft orchard fruits pop up, as well as a slight grassiness.

  3. markjedi1 scored this whisky 86 points Connoisseur

    This Speysider matured on a combination of refill casks, new oak and former bourbon casks.

    A bit of a funny nose on acid candy, lime juice and some breakfast cereals.

    Suprisingly mild with some cedar wood and lots of moss after the rain. Candy-like on the palate with again citrus and sweet malt with lots of acacia honey making it quite creamy. Feisty.

    Mildly drying, buttery soft finish.

  4. Bosi scored this whisky 86 points Specialist

    A nice bottling and for a Diageo Special Release with a reasonable price-performance ratio. But I would never have come across Cardhu blindly, the whisky is too strong on the tongue for that.
    • Nose
      The nose has a really nice aroma of caramel, butter and cookie dough. With water, notes of citrus fruits are added.
    • Taste
      The taste is very strong with the sweetness of honey, Lapsang Souchong, liquorice, a little oak, the already mentioned citrus notes and the sharpness of a little white pepper.
    • Finish
      The finish is medium-long and now the citrus notes come through really strongly, especially limoncello.

  5. Whiskylifestyle scored this whisky 86 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      A rather fruity and sweet nose. Yellow apples and ripe pears. Vanilla custard. Honey. Later also lemons and a floral note. Followed by a layer of caramel.
    • Taste
      Vanilla custard and also the pears. Which is followed by oranges and lemons. Honey mixed with just the tiniest hint of liquorice and ginger. A little peppery too.
    • Finish
      Mid-long and slightly dry. Honey and vanilla custard.

  6. Johannes de Silentio scored this whisky 88 points Member Senior

    Color: White Wine (for a SR bottling--wow!)

    Nose: Very interesting nose right off the bat. It's tripartite: strong lemon, polished oak, and stewed fruit. I don't run into this combination all that often, usually only finding a grouping of the first two or the last two qualities. Strong lemon and stewed fruit are strange but pleasant bedfellows here. I have basically no experience with Cardhu, but I suspect this is pretty irregular when compared to their standard range. With more time in the glass, the barley notes that appear on the palate also shine through on the nose, which is good for balance. Water emphasizes the candied nature of the fruit and lemon combination. Not bad.

    Taste: When tasted neat, the arrival is pretty satisfying except you really feel the oak. I suppose that's not all that surprising given the casks used and the relative youth of this dram. It's incredibly difficult to tiptoe between immaturity and development at 11 yo after all. Beyond the oak, as I mentioned, it has a pleasant mouth-coating effect and isn't particularly hot at 56% ABV. The citric notes from the nose basically disappear here, and they are largely replaced by some pretty strong barley. This rougher palate provides a nice contrast to the very "pretty" nose. Don't get me wrong, it's still sweet, but getting that barley sugar taste without a ton of fruit or citrus to accompany it plays a bit rougher. Water helps even out some of those rough edges and bring the sweetness of the palate back into play.

    Finish: Neat, the finish is actually pretty long for the age of the malt. The barley and a little bit of that oakiness really lingers for quite a while. Water makes you feel the lemon a bit more on the finish.

    Comments: Like many, I suspect, I was intrigued after reading Serge's review of this one. A high score for a younger, more-affordable SR is usually going to pique my interest. More than that, however, was his description about how well he thought Diageo did with the cask selection here. As the above demonstrates, I agree. I had wanted to try an interesting, high-strength Cardhu, and this provided a great opportunity. Happy with the purchase.

  7. DistiLesha scored this whisky 78 points Expert Senior

    If it was a new make, then he could get 100 points.
    If it were not for the woodiness in the finish of the aftertaste, then one could say that this is a first-class new-make.
    In order not to get sweet water, I did not dare to add water.
    N: 18 T: 20 F: 19 B: 21
    • Nose
      Alcoholic, mash and malty, slightly sweet
    • Taste
      Much more interesting than the aroma, although the new-make could very well taste like that. Sweet, sparkling, tingling, lollipop, honey and caramel.
    • Finish
      Sweet apple caramel and wood

  8. MrDvorak scored this whisky 86 points Expert Senior

    RATING: 86pts – |83 – 86 (B) → Good| — Not a “must”, but a nice-to-have.
    • Nose
      85 85
      The nose is very delicate and soft with domination of white grapes and butter cream followed by white pepper.
    • Taste
      87 87
      The taste is fresh and pretty sweet, full of gentle flowers and has notes of lemon cake and white wine.
    • Finish
      85 85
      The finish is medium lenght and fresh again with touches of butter cream, lemon peel and white flowers.

  9. wbarchive_875995 did not rate this whisky Expert Junior

    Soft vanilla white grapes with butter, lemon cake, white pepper and flowers.

    RATING: 85pts - [n22,t22,f20,b21] → |83-85: Decent|

  10. VaryingViewpoint scored this whisky 89 points Moderator

    • Nose
      89 89
    • Taste
      90 90
    • Finish
      89 89


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