Tamdhu 15yo & Batch Strength 004

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A double whammy from Tamdhu today, as we taste our way through their new 15 year old and the latest release of their Batch Strength – their NAS, cask strength offering. I’ve had the privilege (along with The Drinks Lady) of being shown around the warehouses at Tamdhu, and spending a fair amount of time in the company of the distillery manager, Sandy McIntyre. To see owners Ian MacLeod revamping the brand a few years ago, and now expanding the core range is fantastic. And if you’re interested in anything and everything concerning sherry casks, you should check out their excellent ‘Spain to Speyside’ campaign. My good friend Christopher Coates has also written extensively about this in Whisky Magazine.

Anyway, this is what Sandy had to say about the launch of the 15 year old: “We’re extremely proud of our new Tamdhu 15 Year Old. All our whisky at Tamdhu is exclusively matured in the finest Oloroso sherry seasoned oak casks. When you taste a dram of Tamdhu 15 Year Old, you can really taste the time and care that has gone in to creating this incredible whisky. We hope Tamdhu drinkers around the world will savour it as much as we do.”

On the Batch Strength 004, he said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be launching our fourth annual Batch Strength expression, following an award-winning 2018 for Tamdhu. This is a magnificent addition to our growing range of Speyside Single Malts for the sherry wood connoisseur. Previous batch strength versions have attained international praise and commendation and become the choice for whisky connoisseurs and collectors alike. Just like our full range, Batch Strength 004 is 100% matured in ‘Only the Best’ Sherry casks, giving it a strong natural colour, rich taste and a long finish. Bottled at 57.8% ABV, our new Batch Strength 004 is the closest you’ll get to sampling a dram direct from the cask.”

Let’s tuck in.

Tamdhu 15yo
American and European Oloroso sherry casks
46% ABV
£79.80 here

Nose: Apple strudel, plum jam, buttered fruit scones, Danish pastries and Millionaire’s shortbread. Very inviting. Then some singed orange peel, golden syrup and a hint of mahogany.

Palate: Figs, stewed plums, cherry loaf, and blackcurrant jam. Then bourbon biscuits, toasted walnuts and chewy oak give good depth. There’s a wee bit of cinnamon and dark chocolate lurking around too.

Finish: Warming baking spices, with toasted currants and a lingering oaky earthiness.

Tamdhu Batch Strength 004
American and European Oloroso sherry casks
57.8% ABV
£71.75 here

Nose: Wow. Nutmeg, clove, espresso, tiramisu, Black Forest gateau, orange oils, old logs, molasses, liquorice and spiced caramelised onion chutney. Everything jumps out the glass at you at once, it’s full on!

Palate: More of the clove and cinnamon, with some black peppercorns. Sultana cake, dark treacle, dates, prunes, rich honey and rum soaked raisins. Then some charred oak, espresso and damp earth comes through.

Finish: Juicy red currants, with dried fruit mix and cask stave linger.

Overall: Yip, just as I expected. The 15 year old is a delicious, layered, balanced whisky – full of sherried goodness, but without being a one trick pony. There’s lots going on, it looks fantastic, and although it comes in at a slightly-eyebrow-raising price point, it’s a cracking dram. With Batch Strength 004, there’s no fucking about. Big, bold, uncompromising, and a thoroughly visceral experience. Yes, it’s a fair old sherry monster, but there’s much more to it than that. The incremental addition of water reveals lots of different layers to the whisky and once you get it down to 20%-ish, it’s chocolate orange in a glass. Both whiskies are superbly well made, and add another couple of rather large ticks in Tamdhu’s box. It’s therefore little wonder that Sandy won Distillery Manager of the Year at the recent Icons of Whisky Awards.



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