Cardhu – The Speyside Home of Johnnie Walker
Today Cardhu, the fruit of their labours, is a vital ingredient in the Johnnie Walker blend, with the distillery proudly standing as one of the whisky’s Four Corners, alongside the Lowland Glenkinchie, Islay’s Caol Ila and the Highland Clynelish.
“The stories of Cardhu and Johnnie Walker have been intertwined for long over a century,” says Diageo’s Archive Manager and Johnnie Walker archivist and historian, Christine McCafferty. “We can see parallel stories and themes. Just as Helen and John were distilling at Cardow Farm from 1811, we have John Walker growing up on his family farm at Todriggs in Ayrshire, about to take his first steps of our brand story.”
In their “relentless pursuit of quality and flavour”, the Walker’s journeyed across Scotland, building their whisky stocks and decided to purchase Cardhu distillery in 1893. They didn’t look to buy or invest in many distilleries directly, so Cardhu must have been seen as a significant asset for them to take this step. The prized Cardhu became the heart of their whiskies.
Cardhu – Liquid like Fresh Orchard Fruits
“There is a moment at Cardhu when you walk through the still house and pass the stills, and then go down a flight of stairs” says Ewan. “On the third or fourth step you are suddenly hit with an aroma that’s like cutting into a ripe pear. That’s the character of the spirit running off the still and it just hits you.”
“Cardhu brings those sweet orchard fruits and lighter gentler notes to Johnnie Walker. Cardhu is a hugely important part of the Johnnie Walker story. It was the first distillery that they bought and the reason they bought it is because they viewed it as being integral to making any great blended Scotch whisky. They held it in very high esteem, and it remains one of the cornerstones of Johnnie Walker today.” – Ewan Gunn