Tamdhu makes no bones about tapping into the Scottish ingenuity found prominently in the Enlightenment. Built in 1898 by a consortium of Scottish whisky traders, the distillery lays along the River Spey with the stated aim of producing the finest whisky possible. At least until it closed in 2010. With a resurgence of whisky in full swing, however, the site didn’t remain stagnant for long and was purchased in 2011 by Ian Macleod Distillers to be reborn in 2013 with the same Can-Dhu spirit (trust us, they make use of this wordplay too). Being so new, in a sense, the distillery only has three main offerings, with this 10 year being the flagship.
Age: 10 years
Maturation: Sherry casks
Nose: Sherry, burnt sugar, fruits
Palate: Floral, vanilla, caramel, chocolate, hazelnut
Finish: Sherry, orange, apple, oak
Comments: If you can find a special or individual bottling, snap it up.
Adam – I haven’t put my finger quite on it, but I am reminded of some of the full-bodied Highland malts we’ve tried, like Tobermory and Oban. There’s a rich oily caramel that isn’t too sweet and balances the floral elements present on the front of the palate. There’s a little medicinal in the back before the finish settles in, though is there for a flash before leaving so isn’t problematic. The first time I had this was actually a special release bottling of this that was even better. Sadly, of course, I wasn’t able to find it in stores. This is a nice find for those looking to explore the region and want a bit more heft without the normal Speyside thinness. This is a daylight dram, showcasing high summer among the glens. Highly drinkable.
Meghan – This one was a nice surprise. It has a deep, rich caramel color and nose. It remains sweet on the palate and had definite chocolate overtones. I usually cannot detect chocolate notes in Scotch but it comes through here. By pure happenstance, we ended up pairing this Scotch with a salted caramel cheesecake. I am not normally a salted caramel or cheesecake fan but this was a rare specimen. What was even more surprising was how well the Tamdhu went with the cheesecake. The sweetness of the whisky balanced the saltiness in the caramel; the tang of the cheesecake was mellowed beautifully by the Scotch’s chocolate and vanilla notes. The dram itself could be a dessert; however, alone it is a little one dimensional for me, especially for dessert. But it is most definitely a Scotch to pair with a dessert. Although salted caramel was a perfect match I imagine the Tamdhu would also enhance a chocolate dessert, perhaps one with hazelnuts or orange which were other flavors we found in the whisky. This Scotch might also pair well with bruleed or stewed fruits- something fruity but also heavily sweetened.
Peter – It’s a little sweeter, with some caramel.
Mary-Fred – It has lovely depth. I’m getting the sense of richnesss and of layered body. I’m getting some apple barrel, or some fermented apples.