Age vs. NAS round 4: Cardhu 12 vs. Cardhu Amber Rock

The penultimate round of the Big Blind Tasting by Oliver Klimek brings us to a distillery that is barely ever encountered from indies, and neither are there many official bottlings.

I think I have seen an 18 year old apart from the 12 and this Amber Rock. I also have to admit that I’ve not tried any Cardhu in ages. It’s one of those standard bottlings that’s most likely been in everyone’s collection at some point, but for most of us that was it.

It’s funny how some distilleries are huge in one country and barely amount to anything in another. I know Glen Grant is huge in Italy, Aberlour in France and Cardhu seems to be the market leader of single malts in Spain. Honestly, I wouldn’t know which brand is biggest in The Netherlands. Probably Glenfiddich, like almost eImage from Whiskybaseverywhere.

Anyway, this Speysider has been around for ages, but it’s Amber Rock compatriot has only been introduced early last year. I honestly have no idea to how it was received.

Sample 1: Cardhu Amber Rock, 40%

On the nose this whisky quite malty, and very gentle. A touch of oak with some apples and pears. The palate is thin, but slightly sharp and a tad bitter. It gains some weight after a couple of seconds but is still smooth. The finish is back to the malt. Some spices. Boring but not bad.

Image from WhiskybaseSample 2: Cardhu 12 years old. 40%

This nose is a lot sweeter with more fruit. A lot less flat. Spices, oak. The palate has some pepper, oak and spices. It’s quite a bit sharper and slightly rough even. The finish is peppery, and a lot sweeter than the palate. Pepper, oak, spices.

Because of the spiciness of the second dram I thought that was the younger one. The more spirity one. I made the mistake of attributing these spices to the spirit instead of the oak. So, once again I was wrong. I did prefer the second dram, however. It shows more depth and is quite a bit more interesting than the first one, which was fairly boring.

I’m not entirely sure what else to say about these whiskies. The most interesting one, the 12 year old is a whisky that’s interesting for people who’ve never had it and are just starting to get interested in our favorite drink. The other one I’d not recommend. It’s more expensive and hasn’t got a lot to offer.

Short review: both went down the sink. The second one only because I had to go through tomorrow’s samples too (the last round of this event).

Cardhu Amber Rock, 40%
Cardhu 12 years old, 40%

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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