Today I will be reviewing a dram from what has become one of my, and many others, favourite distilleries, Tamdhu. Tamdhu has grown to great fame in the last few years since it came under the control of Ian Macleod Distillers. The distillery was mothballed in 2010 and Ian Macleod Distillers brought it back to life in 2012 by recommencing production, and launching their first bottling, a 10 year old, the following year.
What we are looking at today is their Batch strength version, a non age-stated dram presented at natural cask strength and colour. This batch, batch 2, comes in at an impressive 58.5% and is incredibly drinkable even at that strength. Matured exclusively in ex-sherry casks this is a powerful dram with a huge amount of flavour and character, and was the winner of the 2017 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festivals NAS category. If you like your cask strength sherry bombs like the Aberlour A’Bunadh’s, Glendronach CS or Glenfarclas 105 then look no further than this!
I have enjoyed a few of these over the festive period and thought it was past time that I wrote a review on this one before the bottle is completely empty!
This is a hugely sweet and fruity dram. You can smell fudge, red apple and pears before your nose even gets near the glass! Once you stick your nose in the high alcohol makes itself known, a whopping 58.5%, though, as strong as it is, the massive sweetness easily counteracts this. Once you get past the intense sweetness and power of this it just screams complexity, it’s very interesting and changeable. There’s floral sweetness with honeysuckle and heather one minute with dried apple rings and citrus peel. Then the next, vanilla ice cream, syrup sponge pudding and cinnamon. Then builders’ tea, coffee and dark chocolate, incredible. With time the apples become more stewed and are joined by raisins and red berries. More savoury notes start to emerge with pecans and toasted soda bread. If I had to sum the nose up with two things, cinnamon and toffee baked apples and pecan pie. What a nose!
The first thing you will get when you try this dram is how silky it is on the palate. I had to take a second look at the label when I first tried it as I couldn’t believe it was 58.5%! It is nowhere near as sweet and fruity as the nose but it is rich and creamy. The palate begins with an intense wood and spice assault, with nutmeg, garam masala and pepper. The alcohol begins to build through the development, overpowering the spice, and is joined by fizzy wood tannins. Water opens up the palate severely and drives more sweet and fruity notes forward with the stewed apples from the nose and dried currants. As well as a creamy butterscotch and earthy manuka honey-like character.
Long, warming, and packed with spice. This dram is like central heating, you can just feel the warmth in you from the spice and alcohol. Heavily toasted malt, red apple peel and golden syrup compete against a plethora of savoury and woody spices. Again, garam masala but nutmeg and black pepper also.
This dram is simply a knock out and it has made this a very good festive period indeed. My bottle is now almost done but hopefully I can get a second ordered before the batch is fully sold out. For £55-60 you can’t go wrong with this, and I am really struggling to find any faults. If I get a second bottle of this it will be an investment bottle. By that I don’t mean buy it and sell it on later, that’s not what whisky is about. I mean buy it, keep it safe, and invest in a very enjoyable experience with good friends in the years to come when I crack it open – you’ve got to treat your future self. Gorgeous!