Well let’s continue with another oldie, shall we? Clear out some of the sample bottles to fill it up with something new. This is Tamdhu, and Tamdhu is not on Islay, nor will this Whisky be peated. I expect a lot of this Whisky. First of all it’s Tamdhu, which makes a lovely distillate. It’s bottled by Adelphi, a bottler so good, it almost seems as if they can pick any cask they like. This has 60% ABV and just look at the color. Yeah baby, bring it on!
Color: Orange gold.
Nose: Wood and sometimes a hint of an aromatic White wine. Very spicy. This must have been a very active (toasted) cask. Although you might think this cask previously held some sort of Sherry, I hardly doubt it. Creamy vanilla. American oak, all the way. No Sherry notes whatsoever and yet pretty sweet-smelling, although the dryness of the oak, soon takes over, to never let go. Ehhhm, is this all? Hints of fresh air, but it’s mostly all aroma’s that have to do with oak. It’s definitely not overoaked, mind you, but it seems to be rather mono-dimensional. I’m actually a bit disappointed now, since this is Tamdhu, from Adelphi, which has a reputation, and it’s 60% ABV. I love cask strength. Still, nothing happens for me. Sawdust and hot oak. It smells a bit like a carpenters workshop. This definitely could have done with some blueberry notes, now it smells a bit, dull…
Taste: Initially quite sweet, and again, everything you’d expect from an ex-Bourbon cask. Vanilla, powdered vanilla, creamy pudding, instant pudding powder. Milk chocolate (powder) and a totally different green feel to it, as well. My heart skips a beat right now, because, this is more or less it. Lots of oaky notes, and a strange sweetness. Not a lot more is coming to me to be honest. Earlier I already thought my nose was failing me, but tastewise I don’t “see” a lot of evolution in my glass. WYSIWYG.
Although Adelphi claim*, Tamdhu prefers ex- Bourbon casks, I guess the statement from the Adelphi website, reproduced below, is not entirely correct. What the good people at Adelphi probably meant was that Tamdhu might favour Sherry casks made from American oak, which is still a Sherry cask, and not an ex-Bourbon cask, which, yes, are also made from American oak. This particular example has no flaws, it’s nice, but it almost has no complexity, nor does it evolve a lot after pouring or whilst drinking. I’m pretty sure I will forget rather quickly, how this tasted like, and I hardly forget the taste of a Whisky. Go figure. (When reading this last sentence in November 2021, I indeed really forgot how this Tamdhu tasted like. I’m actually amazed a 15yo Tamdhu from Adelphi scored so relatively low).
* 15 Yr. Old Speyside, 1 of only 257 bottles from cask no. 1955
The make from Tamdhu has always impressed us for its consistency, but this cask is as good as any we have ever seen. The distillery favours American oak, ex-Bourbon casks, and this is no exception, only the whisky is such a deep amber that it might have come from a re-fill butt. The first nose is of soft sponge, filled with vanilla cream. After a short time a delectable perfume emerges (face cream or hair lacquer), and then a floral note: geraniums in a pot (there’s a mossy note as well). With the addition of water the provenance of the cask comes through loud and clear, but it retains the delightful floral/perfumed aroma, joined by a sherbert-like ‘sparkle’. A smooth mouthfeel and a flavour which remains sweet throughout, leaving an aftertaste of white chocolate. Try it frozen, with dessert!