Tamdhu. One of the oldest whisky names in Scotland, yet personally I don’t think It crosses many people minds when talking about whisky. It’s not for the lack of wanting to, I believe looking at it all, it’s quietly being the bedrock of Scottish spirits. Quite a bold statement I suppose, so I better back myself up with some hard evidence.
Spearheaded by a group of whisky blenders, including William Grant and Sons, Tamdhu came into the world at a time when Scotland was seen as the forerunner of the inventing age. The 17 and 1800’s saw the likes of the steam engine perfected by James Watt and the bicycle refined by Kirkpatrick MacMillan. It’s within these times (1897 to be exact) that Tamdhu rose on the banks of the River Spey within what was seen as the pinnacle of distilling. For example, using the experience of Speyside distillery architect Charles Doig of Elgin, the use of a water wheel positioned beneath the floor gave optimum performance and kilns designed to reduce heat loss.
Tamdhu came to be a part of the Edrington Group who, with William Grant in 1999, acquired the distillery from Highland Distillers who had owned the distillery since 1898, despite being closed in 1911, reopened in 1913, then mothballed in 1928 until 1948. In 2010 though, Ian Macleod Distillers took over the operation. Since then, there have been a selection of independent releases, but only one official.
The creation of Tamdhu involves the use of its own malt created from barley (one of only a handful of distilleries still with its on site malting floor, and from 1950, a Saladin box), distilled twice within the six stills they use, then combined with water originating from the Tamdhu spring before maturing within sherry casks.
So how does Tamdhu fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Tamdhu 10yr – 40%
Light cereal with fruit and gentle spice present on the nose. Rich red fruit on the palate, creating a lingering toffee flavour that results in a slightly dry smoky finish.
A great dram to enjoy any time of the year, and despite the opening and closing issues at the beginning of the century, Yes it doesn’t shout about itself like some of the others, but surely the liquid should do the shouting first? Give it a go, place it in your drinks cabinet and offer your friends a different take on Speyside.
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