Tamdhu distillery does not currently have a visitor's centre. I'm not sure why I find that oddly comforting. Looking at pictures of the distillery and warehouses online, the Tamdhu complex looks like it was built with practicality, not tourists, in mind. This isn't a recreation of Hobbiton or The Shire, that's for sure. I'm certain the people who work at Tamdhu are just as passionate about their craft as the showier, luxury distilleries but they seem to go about it in a more low-key and straightforward manner. Don't get me wrong; the Tamdhu website contains the requisite number of references to the finest sherry casks. I mean, if you don't include that bit, are you even legally allowed to call yourself a Speyside Single Malt? I'm not sure. All joking aside, Ian MacLeod distillers bought Tamdhu and re-opened it in 2012, determined to market it as a stand-alone single malt. From what I gather, most of Tamdhu's output had been used in blends before they closed in 2010. The Tamdhu range isn't as extensive as some others, but I find this refreshing as well. I'm not sure we really need another distillery releasing "limited edition" (limited to 50 000 bottles) NAS whiskies every other week.
Tasting notes: Tamdhu 15 Year Old (46% abv)
Neat from a Highland whisky glass
- Nose: CLEAN sherry with no sulphur whatsoever (HUZZAH !), raisins, dates, cranberries, cherries, dark chocolate, walnuts, oak, after a rest in the glass there's some sticky dark toffee coming through
- Palate: rich arrival, tobacco, leather, a bit peppery, more dates and dark fruits (figs, plums), nutty barley, vanilla, some oak tannins.
- Finish: long and warming, with raisins, cranberries, fresh tobacco, oak spices (cinnamon, cloves), leather, dark cherries, rich vanilla lingers forever. This is what a sherry matured whisky should be.
- Thoughts: There are plenty of tell-tale sherry notes, but the malt whisky's character isn't buried. "Balance" is a word that comes to mind. Perhaps there's a mix of first-fill and second-fill sherry casks in the vatting. I'm really note sure, but whatever they've done at Tamdhu, they've done a great job. This is a gamble that paid off for me. Tamdhu 15 isn't cheap here in Ontario, but I'm glad I bought a bottle.