Tamdhu wouldn't have always been my first choice of dram on a November evening. Over time, though, it appears as though my tastes have changed. Ordinarily a cold, winter’s evening would have called for a peaty dram without the need for further contemplation. However, I’m finding more and more these days that I’m veering away from the peat. Although I haven’t turned my back on it completely, I am way more partial to a sherry bomb than I ever used to be. Of course, you can have the best of both worlds; I recently tasted Smokehead Sherry Bomb from Ian Macleod which ticked all the boxes for me.
Also hailing from the Ian Macleod stable is Tamdhu. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve had a Tamdhu I haven’t enjoyed. In recent times, when several NAS whiskies were (rightly) given a bad press, their Batch Strength releases bucked the trend; here’s a non age statement whisky demonstrating quality at a decent price.
Batch Strength #4 comes in at just under £72 which at first glance seems a bit high for a NAS expression. There are two things to consider though: this is batch strength - #4 is 57.8% - and good sherry cask matured whisky always comes at a premium.
In 2011, the then owners of Tamdhu distillery, Edrington, decided that they no longer had a use for it despite the fact that fillings were needed for their blends Cutty Sark – now owned by La Martiniquaise – and Famous Grouse. This is probably why Tamdhu was very much under the radar; not much of it was bottled as a single malt.
Since being sold to Ian Macleod the same year, the Tamdhu brand has been revamped. The emphasis has been on sherry cask maturation with the distillery using both American and European oak Oloroso casks for this release.
Colour: dark gold
Nose: initial hit of dark chocolate which becomes more chocolate orange after a short while in the glass. There’s blackberry jam with slight hints of damp cardboard and pencil sharpenings in the background. With a few drops of water, the dark chocolate develops into milk chocolate; hints of fresh strawberries and cream soda appear; there are dark cherries and Ginger Nut biscuits.
Palate: this has a thick texture; there are hints of ginger and clove which linger well into the finish which is slightly, but pleasantly, bitter. With water, those fresh strawberries really come through; there’s more cream soda together with slight notes of sherbet; sultanas; plenty of Terry's Dark Chocolate Orange.
Overall: this is great stuff; definitely one for an evening next to the fire reading a good book.
Thanks to the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards for the bottle (each judge was able to choose one bottle after the tasting and judging had taken place). Please also note that some of these links are affiliate links.
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