27 January 2022

Cardhu 14yo Diageo Special Release 2021

Let’s be honest, Diageo knows what they’re doing when it comes to marketing. We received an incredible package a while ago, containing samples of all of the 2021 Special Release expressions. It is safe to say that we were speechless, and that’s a rare thing.

This Cardhu 14 years old Special Release, refill American oak matured and ex red wine cask finished is bottled at an 55.5% abv. As said before, this whisky is part of the 2021 Special Release series and to speak for the both of us, this isn’t the whisky we particularly were looking forward to beforehand. In other words, Cardhu hasn’t surprised us so far and the series holds ‘bigger’ mouthwatering names.

We never start a tasting with any prejudices though. We are not impressed by age, colour or anything stated on the label. In fact, most of the time we check the label just after we emptied our glasses. We only check the level of alcohol once in a while just to see if we’re not killing the dram while adding a few drops of water. We take caution not to be biased by any tasting notes the distillery has written down, because we write our own. Here they come:

Tasting notes


Definitely some wine gums on the nose, peppermint and blueberries. Charred oak with dairy and a bit waxy as well. A beautiful marriage between sweet, salty and spicy notes with popcorn, raspberries and blackberries.


Sweet and rich on the palate, spiced wood, salty notes and toast. Buttercream and strawberries towards the finish.


A bit savoury, peaches, grapes and strawberries. Salted caramel and vanilla pudding.

Wow, this is a well balanced dram, the sweet flavours of the American oak and the spicy wood under the influence of the red wine cask, everything checks out. We went back to this dram a few times while tasting the other ones, just to see if our taste buds were fooling us. Well clearly, they didn’t. It is such an interesting whisky because of the complexity and complementary scents and flavours. For me (Dion) this definitely is the winner of this series.

For our friends in the Netherlands, you can find them all here

Cardhu 14yo Diageo Special Release 2021