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Tamdhu 15 Year Old

Tamdhu or Tamdon't

6 587

@RianCReview by @RianC

16th May 2021

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    87

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

I can't profess to be the biggest fan of sherried whiskies, but I have to acknowledge that, when they work, they can be exquisite. So, with that in mind, I always approach buying such whiskies with hesitation and a sense of scepticism.

It seems that, currently, Tamdhu has developed somewhat of a positive reputation and, along with Glendronach (current #chillfiltergate notwithstanding) and perhaps Glengoyne, are the distilleries that might well be giving THE Macallan some sleepless nights. Do soulless, ghouls sleep? Hmm ...

So after lots of positive feedback, I decided to take the plunge and acquire a bottle of the 15. I have also been sipping this alongside the Glendronach 15 in an attempt to decide which of the current sherry market I should be stocking up on (although that plan is now having to be reassessed thanks to the marketing department at GD). More on that below.

Review is with a tiny splash of water and sat for 15 mins. Bottle about three quarters full and opened about two months.

Nose - spicy and sweet. Dark chocolate, oranges, a little heat, creamy sherry and creamy, charred vanilla, and some fresh red fruits. A sense of musty, damp earth sits under it. A tiny hint of menthol. It's a gentle yet spicy nose with quite some complexity and a nice balance between the sweet and spice. Nothing dominates.

I have to point out the gorgeous colour of this whisky - a luscious golden, amber with hints of pinky, red tones. Very appealing.

Taste - Very spicy on the tongue and you get the sense that there was a lot of European oak at play here. So quite bitter tannins with mixed peppercorns and some fresh ginger. The sweetness comes more as it develops, with some strawberries, cherries, orange peel and dark, tawny marmalade. A little more of the creaminess and vanilla. Elegant and silky mouth-feel.

Finish - med. Again, lots of bitterness from the oak, to the point where I would say it begins to dominate proceedings. Some residual sweetness remains.

There is a lot to like about this whisky, really. It has a lovely mouth-feel, I like the gently sherried nature of this - it tastes well-matured and not 'finished'. In other words, I don't feel like I am drinking sherry syrup. And I really like the subtleties and quiet complexity it offers. The 'but' here is the way that the spices begin to take hold of the experience and knock it a bit off-balance for my tastes. It's a shame as I get the impression that the base spirit is very, very good (and perhaps this is a batch issue) but it is suppressed in the late development and finish by the heavy tannins. Some may like this, but it's a bit too much for me.

I have to say, head to head, the Glendronach 15 slightly edges it. Yes, it has more spice, and is what one might call a 'rougher' whisky, but it works for me. If the balance between cask and spirit were better here, I may well have formed a different opinion. I'm curious to try the 12 now to see if that is any better.

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5 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

@RianC 87 is a strong score for faint praise. My sense is that you liked this a lot, hence the 87, but expected a lot more, hence the faint praise.

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Victor - You're probably not far off. I'm not sure if I'd say I was offering faint praise per se but I get your point. It really is just that the tannins become too much, and it's a shame as the rest is really very good.

I genuinely would like to try the 12 now, as I suspect a few less years in the casks might reduce those bitter notes a touch.

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

Thanks for your review. I just double-checked my own review and while I did notice some spices I didn’t find the oak tannins overwhelming or out of balance the way my sample of Macallan 12 Sherry Oak was. Perhaps it’s a batch issue or simply a case of different palates perceiving a whisky differently.

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

@RianC Nice review. Your initial reaction was very similar to mine. However, I think you will feel much more positive about it after it has been open for a few weeks if your experience is anything like mine. As 15 year olds go, this one is running a very close second to my favourite 15; that being the one from Glenfarclas.

about one month ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@OdysseusUnbound - I would genuinely like to try the Macallan 12 Sherry, but it goes for near £70, is 40% and CF. No, thanks. I mean, seriously ...

@BlueNote - it's been open around two months now and it has improved slightly. I think water and time in the glass are key as they soften the edges, but I dont think it will ever come into full balance. Still decent though and, on balance, I'd prefer something like this to an overly 'smooth', overly sweet experience.

I'd be interested to hear what others say when they sample it. It could well just be my palate as I am quite averse to those overly bitter tannin notes.

about one month ago 0

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