The people who choose the casks really aren’t crazy. They obviously taste a lot, as they have released already some 500+ different bottlings, and many more probably have been rejected. Looking at the history of The Ultimate, most bottlings up untill 2005 were bottled at 43% ABV, and after that at 46% ABV. Sometimes however, a cask strength Whisky is released. Sometimes as a ‘Rare Reserve’ release, sometimes because a Whisky just doesn’t respond well to water and sometimes, being the Whisky lovers they are, they leave a Whisky be. It’s already good and it would be a shame to reduce it, let’s just bottle it.
In the recent past this was true for a lot of Islay Whiskies, like Bowmore, Laphroaig and some others, but more recently, a couple of bottlings of “other” Whiskies have surfaced at cask strength, which for me fall in the category of being a stunner in their own right, let’s not fiddle with it. One of those are the sherried Longmorn’s (17yo) of which, up untill now, six casks have been released, two of those I already reviewed: cask #72315 (the first) and cask #72319 (the third). It turns out there is another series that flew under my radar for a while: very young sherried Tamdhu’s. There are six of those as well. Five from 2004 (6yo, 7yo and 8yo) and one from 2005 (another 8yo), that was released last. Let’s review the latter one: the 2005, 8yo, from cask #347.
Color: Pale gold.
Nose: Very full, buttery and spicy. lots of wood aroma’s, sawdust, pencil shavings with a little bit of cask toast, and quite alcoholic. What a stunning nose for such a young Whisky. Wild vanilla in peppered pudding. Musty and some deep licorice from the Sherry and toasted wood. Maybe not the most complex nose, but hey, it isn’t even ten years old, but it is very appealing. I can’t stop smelling this. The sweetish, toffee and butter notes leave the glass and the wood remains. The spicy and peppery wood is omnipresent in this bottling, so if this would have been bottled some years later, it probably “wood” have been too much. Now the wood gives a lot of character to the nose, without dominating. Good call.
Taste: Nice full body full on wood and caramel, toffee. Pepper and spice. Butter and salt. It’s in utter balance since the nose and the taste are a complete match. The taste itself is a bit unbalanced (huh?) because the wood gives off some sour oak which makes the body a bit less sweet than expected and this type of Whisky does need some sugars in the mix. Because of the same reasons, the finish isn’t as long as expected, nor does it leave a specific taste in your mouth (but it does leave a little bit of woody bitterness and butter). It should have been more cloying. All the wood that can be smelled and tasted predicted a lot of dryness even though some sweetness is present. Maybe this should have been bottled even sooner? Who would imagine that! Quite hot at nearly 60% ABV.
So it’s lacking some sugars, there is a lot of wood, so isn’t it any good? On the contrary. What remains is a very good young Tamdhu, that isn’t super complex, but does have a lot of character and I most definitely like this very much. I’m lucky to have stumbled on this, and could still buy it. Recommended!
Merry Christmas everybody!