Cardhu Gold Reserve

Cardhu Gold Reserve (40%, OB, 2014)

  • Category: Speyside single malt scotch whisky
  • Origin: Cardhu Distillery
  • Bottling: Diageo
  • ABV: 40%
  • Cost: £24.95

Cardhu Gold Reserve Whisky

What they say

The Cardhu family of Speyside single malt scotch whiskies welcomes a new member: Gold Reserve Cask Selection. Master Blender Matthew Crow has carefully selected casks to create a mouth-wateringly sweet, rich and mellow single malt whisky.

Smooth, beautifully structured and well-paced with a rich texture and warm, mellow balance of sweet fruit and spice.

Official tasting notes:

  • Aroma: Apples, Milk chocolate, Orange peel, Toffee
  • Flavours: Apple, Brown sugar, Bitter orange, Cocoa, Smoke
  • Character: Balanced

What I say

Cardhu was the 2nd or 3rd distillery we visited and our 1st in Speyside. I had long-wished that many of the Diageo stable, including the Classic Malts, would produce more expressions to display (or not) more facets of the underlying spirit character. Admittedly Diageo do produce a semi-regular release of Distiller’s editions from each of the Classic Malt Distilleries, selecting a single finishing cask type which they have decided works best for the character of each distillery. At first I was glad to see Cardhu finally producing another expression however the lack of age statement and also mild increase in base RRP strongly indicates Diageo are following the current trend in the whisky marketplace of offering younger whisky for more expense. This particular expression has been matured in Toasted Oak cask (great I thought – the Deanston Toasted Oak was my favourite expression upon visiting that distillery). Sadly this Cardhu expression was on the very safe side.

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Amber gold (8/20), light quick tears
  • Nose: Caramel, toffee and tinned peaches, heather honey, cereal barley, apples and pears, light, sweet and fruity
  • Taste: Smooth and creamy, butterscotch toffee, mocha-latte, crème brûlée, caramelised sugar, vanilla crème anglais.
  • Finish: Short, creamy, butterscotch toffees, a little cinnamon spice


Easy drinking, a more saccharine and caramel change to the standard Cardhu 12 year old goes some way to masking younger whisky. Poor value for money, unless purchased during supermarket offers season (as I did). A little disappointing considering it retails at £10 greater than Cardhu 12 Years Old.

Score 70/100

Shop for Cardhu Gold Reserve (opens Master of Malt)

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Categories: Cardhu, Speyside

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