Tamdhu is another distillery that until now has evaded my rapier pen. This Speyside distillery was founded in 1896 and lies between Cardhu and Knockando. It's quite large with nine pine washbacks and three pairs of stills. After closing it in 2010, Edrington sold it to Ian Macleod Distillers (who just bought Rosebank) who revived the lagging brand in 2012 (having traditionally been used almost solely by blenders).
This is Batch 2 of their Batch Strength expression, matured solely in sherry casks (with a lot of first-fill) and is non-coloured and un-chlllfiltered.
The colour is a coppery, reddish gold. Classic sherry bomb on the nose, with stewed prunes, blackberry compote, melted chocolate and wood polish. Cayenne pepper. A hint of ginger. Blood orange. Lime pith. High-quality maraschino. Slightly vegetal, and very umami. With water you get hazelnuts and wood smoke. This is big fat sherry all the way, and not as much of a bruiser as you would think.
The palate is not as hot as expected, with all the notes you find on the nose, but with more ginger and assorted herbs. Nutty. Lightly syrupy. Angostura. Smoked paprika. Water brings out more spice, and finally reveals the malt under all that cask influence. Really delicious!
The long finish is dusty with mouth-puckering tannins, vanilla, paprika and fino sherry (no idea if there were specifically fino casks involved though, that's just the note I'm getting). I'm hit-and-miss on sherry bombs (love my A'bunadh, not so much the many sulphur beasts out there) but this checks all the right boxes while avoiding the wrong boxes. Water is really your friend here; this is a thirsty one! Reached #8 on Whisky Advocate's Top Whiskies of 2017, scoring a 93. My only complaint is the packaging, which features "old-tyme" lettering describing those who made this spirit as "A Co. of Gentlemen, Merchants and Purveyors of The 'Can-Dhu-Spirit'" Ugh.