Roderick Dhu Review

Picture by Janet Duperre

“This New Roderick Won't Dhu" 

Country: Scotland 
Brand: Roderick Dhu
Produced for: Historic Scotland, Longmorn House, Edinburgh.
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky 
Age: NAS
ABV: 40 %

Colour: Very Pale White Wine. 

Nose: Very Light with Floral and Grassy Tones, Grains, Heather, Straw, Nuts, slightly Sour Apple Juice, Sultanas, light Toffee, light Vanilla, Burnt Toast with a bit of Margarine, Refill Oak and Dried Apricot. The Alcohol does not sting. I do not find any Off-Notes but it's all very Thin and Minimalistic.

Palate: Young, Thin and Watery delivery. I find Sugary Grains, slightly Bitter Oak, light Pepper, light Licorice, Toffee and a touch of Lemon Peel.

Finish: Short and Sugary Sweet with Sweet Grains, Toffee, light Pepper, light Aniseed, Oak, Lemon Peel and light Menthol. 

Added Water completely kills this Blend. 

Rating: 72

Nose: 18.5 - Taste: 18 - Finish: 17.5 - Overall: 18

Still in Good Shape and Well Maintained!

General Remarks: Until it closed in 1983, the Dallas Dhu Distillery in Forres, Morayshire, produced the Malt for the Roderick Dhu Blend. This Blend was owned by Wright & Greig Ltd in Glasgow, proprietors of Dallas Dhu from around 1899 until around 1920. It was very popular in India and in Australia and New Zealand. Dallas Dhu was not demolished and since 1988 it functions as a Whisky Production Museum that includes a Visitor Centre and Shop. Since 1992 it is owned by Historic Scotland, an Agency of the Scottish Government. At their request the Roderick Dhu Blend is produced again in small quantities, mainly sold in miniatures in the Museum Venue. No idea where the Roderick Dhu Blend is produced today. Certainly not at Dallas Dhu as its Licence was withdrawn in 1992. Unless old stocks from before 1983 are used of course. Not very likely though given the Blend's very pale appearance that is quite different from the colour of the Original Blend. If any of you know more about this, please leave your Comment. That would be greatly appreciated!

The Roderick Dhu as produced until 1983 at Dallas Dhu!

Drinking Experience Neat: Below Average.

Conclusion: I never had the chance to taste the Old Roderick Dhu and it's more than likely that I never will. But I feel that today's Roderich is only a hollow shell of its former self. True, there are no Off-Notes and the Alcohol does not sting but there's nothing in this Blend that arouses my interest. The Roderick Dhu Blend was named after one of the main characters in Sir Walter Scott's narrative poem " The Lady of the Lake". Roderick Dhu, the Chief of the Clan Alpine, dies during the Rebellion against King James. It would have been better if the Blend that carries his name would have died as well when Dallas Dhu closed its gates in 1983.

 The Beautiful Shop at Dallas Dhu!

Our Visit: We visited Dallas Dhu on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Unfortunately it was raining again but that won't surprise you anymore. We did not visit the museum as we preferred to visit Working Distilleries. We did have a look at the beautiful shop though. Lots of Whisky, including some old but very expensive Dallas Dhu Malts but also large quantities of books, miniatures, local food and other goodies. We bought a few souvenirs for the Home Front as well as some Miniatures. Certainly worth a visit if you're around!

Jan van den Ende                                                            August 31, 2014

The Entrance to the Shop!

Cardhu 12 Years Review

“Barley Juice”
Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Cardhu
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 12 years
ABV: 40 %

Cardhu in the Splendid Scottish Sunshine!

Colour: Light Golden

Nose: Sweet Barley, Nuts, Heather and other Floral tones, Straw, Brown Sugar, Toffee, Vanilla, Plum Jam, Dried Apricot, light Citrus, light Pineapple, light Oak, Light Apple, light Peach, Dusty Roads and hints of Milk Chocolate and Black Coffee that was brewed a couple of hours earlier. There's nothing wrong with the Nose and it's quite balanced and pleasant. But it's also rather boring for a Single Malt. Only the Barley really stands out.

The Small But Cosy Shop!

Palate: Thin and Watery Delivery. The Sweet Barley and Brown Sugar follow the Nose. I also find Toffee, light Vanilla, Dried Fruit, Dried Herbs, Red Currant Juice, light Citrus, light Pepper, light Cinnamon, Straw, Dry Oak and a hint of Cardamom.
The Stainless Steel Mashtun!

Finish: Quite Short and Sweet with Barley, Sugar, Orange Peel, Nut Shells, light Vanilla, Dry Earth, light Oak, light Spices and light Menthol.

Some of the Washbacks!

With a couple of drops of water the Nose gets even more Malt and a bit of Honey as well. But palate and Finish do not accept extra Water very well. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 83  

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 20.5

Grey Warehouses under a Grey Sky!

General Remarks: Because of the large demand for the Cardhu Single Malt 12 Years in Spain and its importance for the JW Blends, there are not many other Distillery Expressions. In 2011 the 15 and 18 Years were released, basically in Southern Europe. And, in 2013, the 21 Year Old was introduced as a Special Release. The 12 Years matured in Ex-Bourbon Casks and sells at around 50 US Dollars.

Inside One of the Warehouses!

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good 

Conclusion: The Cardhu 12 Years won't disappoint beginning Whisky Drinkers as it's Soft, Smooth and Sweet and showcases familiar Aromas like Toffee, Vanilla and Assorted Fruits. But if you're already a seasoned Whisky lover you will find this Single Malt lacking in Personality, Depth and Complexity. The Nose is the best part of the Cardhu 12 Years. But on the Palate and in the Finish it's both utterly Drinkable and Forgettable! 

A Special Cask!

Some Data: Cardhu means Black Rock. The Distillery is located in Knockando , Morayshire, some eight miles South-West of Aberlour. It was founded in 1824 by John Cumming and was bought in 1893 by John Walker & Sons. Today it belongs to the Diageo Group. Cardhu Single Malt is mostly known as a very important part of the Johnnie Walker Blends but it has always been a very popular Single Malt in Spain. Today, Diageo is looking to reposition the Cardhu Single Malt in other markets  as well. The Distillery possesses a Stainless Steel Full Lauter Mash Tun, 10 Wash Backs and 3 Pairs of Stills. In 2013 their total production amounted to around 3,4 million litres. 

The Classic Tour Tasting!

The water for the distillery is sourced from a Spring on Mannoch Hill. From Easter to September, the Distillery opens from Monday - Friday from 10.00 to 17.00 hours, on Saturday from 10.00 to 17.00 (July-September) and also on Sunday from 12.00 to 16.00 (July September). From October to Easter it only opens from Monday to Friday from 11.00 to 15.00. You can do the Standard Tour at 4 Pounds, the Classic tour at 6 Pounds or the Aroma and Flavour Tour at 8 Pounds. The latter must be booked in advance.

Let the Nose do the Talking!

We visited Cardhu on Friday May 23, 2014. Unfortunately it rained again for most of the day. First we had a look at the cosy little Shop where I bought the Miniature of the 12 Years I'm reviewing today. It was a very quiet day at the Distillery with some maintenance going on. In fact we were the only visitors and got ourselves a private tour that was a bit dull because of said maintenance. A nice detail are the Nosing Tins with some of the main Cardhu Aromas and Flavours that help you prepare for the Tasting. At the end of the tour we tasted three little drams, amongst them the 12 Years and the NAS Special Cask Reserve. 

Jan van den Ende                                                             August 29, 2014

Cardhu Distillery! Hope to see it someday in the Sunshine!