Diageo has sensationally ditched ambitions to make Cardhu a global brand after backtracking on its controversial decision to change the whisky to a blend.
The spirits giant caused outrage last October when it refused to change the name of the brand - called after the distillery where it was first made - even though it was no longer a single malt made at Cardhu, but a combination of spirits from different plants. Instead it swapped the term ‘single malt’ for ‘pure malt’ on bottles.
Diageo said the change was necessary because it was running out of the 12-year-old
single malt made at Cardhu and could not meet the demands of a global roll out. However, rivals believed the move threatened the integrity of Scotch whisky by opening the floodgates for companies to name brands after distilleries which played no role in their production.
In a bid to defuse the row and avoid legal action by other distillers, Diageo agreed to make significant packaging alterations to Cardhu ‘pure malt’ and launched a campaign to tell key European markets about the changes to the liquid.
However, despite winning the approval of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), Diageo has now withdrawn Cardhu ‘pure malt’ and plans to reintroduce the single malt version.
Acknowledging that this would rule out plans to take the brand worldwide, Diageo’s communications director in Scotland, Peter Smith, said it was necessary because it expected guidelines from the SWA to prevent firms naming brands after distilleries unless they were single malts made there.
Rosie Davenport