Cardhu Distillery

  • Scotland
  • International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC), World Whiskies Awards, San Francisco World Spirits Competition
Phone Number
  • +44 1479 874635
  • Knockando, Charlestown of Aberlour, Aberlour AB38 7RY, United Kingdom

Historic distillery buildings under blue sky with clouds.

About Cardhu Distillery


Cardhu Distillery is located in the Speyside region and is known for producing premium whisky with flavors reminiscent of ripe orchard fruit, fresh grass, and mellow cereal.

The distillery has a rich history, having been successfully run by two generations of pioneering women, Helen and Elizabeth Cumming. Their determination, skill, generosity, and community loyalty have forever defined Cardhu as a whisky with heart.

Cardhu was the first distillery to partner with John Walker & Sons. For over 200 years, the elegant and smooth character of Cardhu has been celebrated worldwide.



History of Cardhu Distillery

Nestled in the lush valley of the River Spey, the Cardhu distillery, initially known as Cardow, boasts a prime location in Speyside, offering breathtaking views of the southern hills. The distillery’s name, derived from the Gaelic term for “Black Rock,” is a testament to its deep-rooted Scottish heritage.

The distillery’s inception can be traced back to the Excise Act of 1824, marking the transformation of a modest cottage business run by John and Helen Cummings into a distinguished local distillery. 

Their legacy was further cemented by their son’s wife, Elizabeth Cummings. Taking the reins in 1872 following her husband’s demise, Elizabeth not only established the unique character and flavor of the malt but also expanded the distillery’s production year after year. 

By 1884, the growth necessitated larger premises, leading to the construction of New Cardhu nearby. Under Elizabeth’s visionary leadership, Cardhu laid the groundwork for a whisky that would gain global acclaim.

Today, the distillery offers a diverse range of whiskies, from the Cardhu 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky to the Cardhu Gold Reserve Single Malt Scotch Whisky, each echoing the rich history and unparalleled craftsmanship that the distillery embodies.

Awards Won by Cardhu Distillery

Cardhu Distillery has won numerous awards over the years, including:

  • International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC): Gold Medal for Cardhu 12 Year Old in 2018, 2020, and 2023; Gold Medal for Cardhu 18 Year Old in 2019, 2021, and 2023; Gold Medal for Cardhu Amber Rock in 2022
  • World Whiskies Awards: Best Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky 12 Years & Under for Cardhu 12 Year Old in 2018, 2020, and 2022; Best Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky 15 Years & Under for Cardhu 15 Year Old in 2019 and 2021; Best Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky 18 Years & Under for Cardhu 18 Year Old in 2019 and 2021
  • Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible: Liquid Gold for Cardhu 12 Year Old in 2019, 2020, and 2022; Liquid Gold for Cardhu 15 Year Old in 2021 and 2023; Liquid Gold for Cardhu 18 Year Old in 2021 and 2023
  • San Francisco World Spirits Competition: Gold Medal for Cardhu 12 Year Old in 2019 and 2021; Gold Medal for Cardhu 15 Year Old in 2019 and 2021; Gold Medal for Cardhu 18 Year Old in 2019 and 2021

These awards are a testament to the high quality and consistency of Cardhu’s whiskies. The distillery has a long and proud history, and its whiskies are enjoyed by whisky drinkers all over the world.

Cardhu Distillery Tour Information and Experience

Cardhu Flavour Journey Tour

  • This tour is for those who love a good story and are keen to explore flavors in new ways.
  • It delves into Cardhu’s fascinating founding by two generations of resolute women.
  • The tour culminates in a tutored whisky tasting of drams and a cocktail in the Tasting Kitchen, offering guests the signature Cumming and Walker family hospitality.

Guess Dhu Tour & Tasting Challenge

  • This is for those who love a challenge and enjoy matching their flavor perceptions against others.
  • It’s an optional nosing and tasting finish to the Cardhu Flavour Journey.
  • Participants test their senses in a mystery whisky challenge in the Cardhu Collection Room. Those who correctly identify the whiskies earn a spot in the Guess Dhu Hall of Fame.

Cardhu Collection Tour

  • Ideal for flavor explorers eager to discern different aromas and tastes.
  • Led by a whisky specialist, participants discover how the celebrated Cardhu character is created.
  • The tour includes a tutored nosing and tasting of the Cardhu Range.

Additional Offerings:

The Whisky Gift Card: Allows recipients to shop for top whiskies and merchandise at various visitor experiences in Scotland, including Johnnie Walker Princes Street, Talisker, Lagavulin, Singleton, and more. It’s available for purchase at the distillery’s retail area.

Visiting Cardhu

  • Address: Cardhu Distillery, Knockando, Aberlour, Banffshire, AB38 7RY, UK
  • Contact: Phone: 01479 874635 | Email:
  • Opening Hours:

Jan – Feb: Thur – Mon | 10:00 – 16:00
Mar – Oct: Mon – Sun | 10:00 – 17:00
Nov – Dec: The bar at Cardhu is open from 10 am-5 pm during the distillery’s main opening hours. Last orders are at 4.30 pm.

  • Special Events: Cardhu offers cocktail masterclasses and collaborations with local suppliers. They have a schedule of the latest events for visitors to check and book.

Accessibility and Sustainability

  • Cardhu has consulted Euan’s guide to ensure disabled access information is provided upfront, giving all visitors confidence in their visit.
  • The distillery also boasts sustainable facilities, including EV charging points and bicycle racks.

For those planning a visit, it’s recommended to book tours and experiences in advance to avoid disappointment. If you’re visiting with a dog, they have a specific policy that you can view on their website.

Flask & Barrel Review of Cardhu Distillery

Man, I’ve been on my fair share of distillery tours, but Cardhu? It’s something else. Right from the get-go, you can feel the history in the air.

I mean, it’s not every day you come across a distillery that’s been run by two generations of pioneering women. Helen and Elizabeth Cumming? Legends in my book.

The Cardhu Flavour Journey Tour was a trip! I’ve got a pretty decent collection of whiskies back home, but the flavors here? They hit different. Ripe orchard fruit, fresh grass, and that mellow cereal note? Spot on. 

And the Tasting Kitchen? Felt just like I was hanging out in a buddy’s living room, sipping on some top-notch drams.

Now, the Guess Dhu Tour & Tasting Challenge? That was a fun twist. I pride myself on my palate, but this challenge had me second-guessing (pun intended). Almost made it to the Hall of Fame, but hey, there’s always next time.

The only tiny hiccup? I wish the Cardhu Collection Tour went a bit deeper into the production process. But then again, I’m a bit of a whiskey nerd, so maybe that’s just me.

All in all, Cardhu’s got that warm-hearted spirit that makes you feel right at home. If you’re a whiskey enthusiast, it’s a must-visit. Solid 4.7/5 from this collector!

What To Do Nearby Cardhu Distillery

When visiting the Cardhu Distillery, you have a variety of attractions and activities to choose from in the surrounding area. Here are some suggestions:

Ballindalloch Castle and Gardens

  • Distance: 6.64 km from Cardhu Distillery.
  • Description: Explore the historic Ballindalloch Castle, one of the few private castles in Scotland continuously inhabited by the founding family, the Macpherson-Grants, since around 1546.

Speyside’s Malt Whisky Trail

  • Location: Heart of Speyside, encompassing the area around Cardhu Distillery.
  • Description: Embark on a trail that covers seven operational distilleries, one historic distillery, and the Speyside Cooperage. It’s a splendid way to delve into the region famously known as ‘Malt Whisky Country’, housing over half of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries.

GHD Clan Tour of Speyside Distilleries

  • Price: From £135.00 per adult (varies by group size).
  • Description: Enjoy a guided tour of Speyside distilleries to learn more about the local whisky production and heritage.

Exploring Nearby Cities

Description: The nearest train station to Cardhu Distillery is in Elgin, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) away. You can also drive to Inverness in about an hour or to Aberdeen in about 1.5 hours, both via the A96. These cities offer additional sightseeing, dining, and cultural experiences.

These activities and attractions offer a mix of historical exploration, appreciation for local whisky craftsmanship, and the scenic beauty of Speyside, making your visit to the Cardhu Distillery a rich and enjoyable experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Cardhu Distillery?

Here are some top-rated restaurants near Cardhu Distillery:

  • The Mash Tun at Broomfield Sq, Charlestown of Aberlour, Aberlour AB38 9QP, UK. Whisky bar offering contemporary Scottish cuisine, plus refined quarters with free Wi-Fi. It has a 4.5 star rating on Google Maps. Give them a call at +441340881771 to make a reservation.
  • Plum Garden at The Square, Charlestown of Aberlour, Aberlour AB38 9PX, UK. It has a 4.7 star rating on Google Maps. Give them a call at +441340871617 to make a reservation.
  • The Gather’n Café at 89 High St, Charlestown of Aberlour, Aberlour AB38 9QB, UK. It has a 4.6 star rating on Google Maps. Give them a call at +441340881749 to make a reservation.

What hotels are near Cardhu Distillery?

  • Cardhu Country House: It has a rating of 4.9 on Google Maps. Located at Knockando, Aberlour AB38 7RY, United Kingdom, you can make a reservation by calling them at +441340810895.
  • Dowans Hotel & Restaurant: It has a rating of 4.7 on Google Maps. Located at Dowans Rd, Aberlour AB38 9LS, United Kingdom, you can make a reservation by calling them at +441340871488.
  • The Aberlour Hotel: It has a rating of 4.3 on Google Maps. Located at 87 High St, Aberlour AB38 9QB, United Kingdom, you can make a reservation by calling them at +441340871287.