John and Helen Cumming first began illicit distilling in 1811. They were so successful, that in 1824 the distillery was licensed and named Cardhu. Cardhu is special. The distillery was successfully run by two generations of women- Helen and her daughter-in-law Elizabeth, who took over the running of Cardhu following the death of her husband Lewis. Both Helen and Elizabeth made Cardhu the whisky we know today, refining its flavour and character to produce an effortless, elegant, generous spirit, born of hard work and determination.
The origins of Cardhu trace back to 1811 when John Cumming and his wife Helen took over the lease of Cardhu farm. Like many of their farming neighbours, they took to illicit distilling, with Helen Cumming cleverly outwitting excise men by inviting them into her home, disguising the fermenting as baking, then slipping outside to alert her fellow distillers by flying a red flag.