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Tamdhu 15 Year Old

Average score from 2 reviews and 4 ratings 87

Tamdhu 15 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Tamdhu
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 43.0%
  • Age: 15 year old

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Tamdhu 15 Year Old

This review of Tamdhu 15 is from a sample kindly supplied by @RianC and is only my second experience of Tamdhu as I've also tried the 12. Which is decent. It was also @RianC s idea to compare this to the Glenturret 12 I recently purchased which is at a similar-ish price point to the Tamdhu 15.

Sample has sat for 15 minutes (year in the glass for every year in the cask)

Nose (neat)

Unmistakable sherry bomb nose. Dried fruits, figs, christmas cake, beeswax.

With water the nose opens up and you get a beautiful note of peaches that reminds me of a bottle of Hibiki 17 I once had.

Very enjoyable nose.

Palate

Arrival neat is slightly hot and surprisngly sour with tobacco. Needs a bit of water.

With a little water some of the heat from the arrival is tamed and a floral note emerges. It's still quite surprisingly sour and savoury. The tobacco note continues. There's some citrus fruits. But not actually a lot of dried fruit. There's also a slight musty note that makes me think of wet bandages. That shows up at one point then disappears (I wonder if this was matured in a dunnage warehouse?)

With a bit more water you get a bit more fruit. But it is more along the lines of orchard fruits. Peaches and apricots and it is sll underpinned by a savoury, sour note.

Finish

Is very long with tannins, leather and tobacco and a repeat of the floral note towards the end.

Verdict

This was not what I was expecting at all. Before I tried it I assumed it would be a Sherry Bomb but now having had it I that doesn't describe it at all. It reminded me quite a bit of some fairly 'not for beginners' challenging malts like Benromach, Hazelburn or Glen Garioch. I think it would be best described as a character malt that has been sherry cask matured.

One to sit quietly and take your time with.

Thanks for the review. Your description “character malt” is spot-on. I love those leather/tobacco/dunnage notes and I think that’s why I loved this one enough to get a second bottle. My first did not last long.

@Wierdo - nice review. I do wonder sometimes how much putting whisky into samples and then all the sloshing about from travel affects them? Some more than others, I guess?

I had a couple of drams recently and enjoyed it more. The bitter edges had softened a bit and it had much more of the leathery and old-school notes.

@RianC

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.

@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.

@BlueNote - a further three months on and this is improving. Much less bitterness and hot spices on the development and finish and more complex orange notes and some sweet barley sugars on the nose.

I think this may have been a bit 'uptight' initially but has definitely relaxed a bit. It has taken almost six months though, but I guess that's not too uncommon with such a style of malt?

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