CARDHU Single Malt Scotch Whisky is adding a new, highly crafted variant to its popular and successful range of Speyside whiskies, Diageo has announced.

CARDHU AMBER ROCK™ has been double matured in toasted American Oak casks, to deliver richer notes of vanilla and spice. Elegant and deeply flavoured, it still retains the impeccable balance and the clean sweet notes that are a hallmark of CARDHU, and are faithful to the tradition of generous single malt whiskies created by the distillery’s remarkable founders, Helen and Elizabeth Cumming.

Cardhu Amber Rock

Cardhu Amber Rock

Official tasting notes announce that “the classic CARDHU notes of citrus and honey are deepened by fruit, spice and sweetness: superbly balanced and well-paced, with consistent intensity and texture and a tasteful mingling of silky tannins and clean, fresh vanilla flavours and aromas.”

Master Blender Dr Matthew Crow, who worked on the new CARDHU AMBER ROCK, said:

“The Bourbon nuances that develop from the second maturation in toasted casks seasoned with Bourbon whiskey add an even greater silkiness and roundness to the already balanced and delicious CARDHU, bringing vanilla and spice notes along with hints of oak. We are very pleased with how this has turned out.”

CARDHU AMBER ROCK joins the CARDHU family of Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, which was recently expanded with the addition of 15 and 18 year old expressions.

Destined mainly for distribution through whisky specialist stores, CARDHU AMBER ROCK will be available in France and the Belgium from spring 2014, and more widely in Western Europe [UK, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Greece & Netherlands] from late summer onwards. The launch will be supported by in-store publicity, advertising and promotion through digital channels.

“Western Europe remains a major market for our single malts, including CARDHU”, commented Nik Keane, Diageo’s Global Brand Director for Malt Whiskies. “We are excited and confident that this very original new variant will appeal both to existing CARDHU drinkers and to whisky drinkers new to the category or the brand.”

The name “CARDHU” means “black rock” in the Gaelic language; “CARDHU AMBER ROCK” has been chosen as the name for the new CARDHU as a variant on the distillery’s name and to reflect the golden jewel-like colour of the new expression.

The Recommended Retail Price of CARDHU AMBER ROCK in the UK market will be £41. 


The Cumming family and CARDHU

The Cumming family owned, cherished and developed the CARDHU distillery over several generations, and for many critical years the growing enterprise was managed by two pioneering women – Helen Cumming, and then her daughter-in-law, Elizabeth.

John and Helen Cumming took a lease on a farm at Cardow in Speyside in 1811, and soon Helen started to make whisky for sale to neighbours and in the local town of Elgin.

At the time, whisky was often made on farms and was the responsibility of the women in the household. Until the 1823 Excise Act made it commercially viable for small enterprises to distil and sell legally, distilling at CARDHU and in the neighbourhood was illegal and subject to raids by the tax inspectors or excisemen. (The CARDHU bottle cartons carry a graphic reference to Helen Cumming, the first distiller at CARDHU, waving a flag to warn other local distillers of the presence of the official tax inspectors.)

Helen Cumming, with her husband and then her son, ran both the farm and the distillery until 1872. But in that year, when Helen Cumming was already very old, her son died and his much younger widow Elizabeth rose to the challenge of running the farm and the distillery, developing expanding sales with whisky blenders who valued this fine balanced single malt for their blends.

Elizabeth Cumming, and in due course her son John Fleetwood Cumming, proved hugely successful in managing and developing the distillery and sales of its whisky. In 1893 they finally agreed, after many approaches, to sell the business to John Walker & Sons, thus making it the first distillery to be acquired by that ambitious and famous family.

Elizabeth died in 1894, mourned in the region for her kind heart and for being a “true friend of all the poor”. John Fleetwood Cumming continued to run the distillery, whilst also serving as one of the Directors of the expanding John Walker & Sons. He retired only in 1923 when John Walker & Sons became a public company.

John Cumming died in 1933, but his son Ronald had followed his father into John Walker & Sons with the position of Export Director. As Sir Ronald Cumming, he became Chairman of John Walker & Sons in the 1960s. He died in 1982 as chairman of The Distillers Company, one of the most powerful men in whisky in Scotland.

In 170 unbroken years and just four long-lived generations, the Cummings of Cardhu had gone from small-scale farm distillers to international success. 

Full Tasting Notes

Strength: 40% ABV
Region: Speyside
In brief:
A compelling, joyous and flavourful CARDHU that starts citrus-fresh thensmoothly reveals deeper notes of spice, stewed fruit, vanilla and creamy chocolate, rounded off by a spicy, sweet finish.
In a sentence:
Great at natural strength with a little water on the side, the classic CARDHU notes of citrus and honey are deepened by fruit, spice and sweetness: superbly balanced and well-paced, with consistent intensity and texture and a tasteful mingling of silky tannins and clean, fresh vanilla flavours and aromas.
In full:
Vivid, clear amber.
Sweet, full and vibrant, with fresh pear and lychee notes dancing above buttery pastry. Through this rise balancing citrus notes of sweet tangerine, lemon balm or a lively old-fashioned lemonade. These soften in turn into a rich syrupy- smooth maltiness with sweet toffee, honey and barley sugar. There are notes of fragrant vanilla and toasted marshmallow here too, as the palate rounds further to apples and pears in syrup, spiced
with clove, then to deeper creamy white chocolate and almonds.
Medium. Coating. Almost fizzes with life.
Sweet and spicy from the start, like a fresh fruit salad with pears and sweet apples in lemon juice finished with a splash of cream from fresh-toasted oak. Then drier, with a balancing tangerine sharpness, before soft, smooth fruit syrup emerges on the subtle mid-palate, beneath which an underlying grassiness and toasty oak intensity is never far away, until smooth marshmallows, creamy milk chocolate and vanilla notes
come finally to the fore.
Quite long, spicy-sweet, creamy and comforting; a fizzing bitter cherry-bomb with smooth, drying cocoa, dark chocolate, toasty oak, and finally, a lingering note of citrus.  


Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, JεB, Buchanan’s, Windsor and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Ci ̂roc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo is a global company, with its products sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit

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