Tamdhu 13, 1989 (Lombard)

tamdhulombardTamdhu is a not-particularly-storied distillery located in the Speyside region. Until recently, it was part of the Edrington group, which owns the far more storied distilleries of Highland Park and the Macallan, but was mothballed in 2009. It has since been purchased by Ian MacLeod, who own the Glengoyne distillery and release various lines of independent bottlings and blends. It is not clear what form the output of the distillery will take under the new ownership, but in its previous incarnation Tamdhu was known in the US for its 10 year old whisky, which was (and where still available, continues to be) one of the great values in malts, often available in the vicinity of $20. Not a remarkable malt but far, far better than the price might indicate and better than many priced far higher. Independent bottlings of Tamdhu are not difficult to find, however, and my review today is of one of those. The bottler is Lombard, whose presentation generally outstrips the reputation of its bottlings–at least from what I have read; if your experience is different please make some recommendations in the comments below.

Tamdhu 13, 1989 (Lombard, 50%; from a sample received in a swap)

Nose: A little spirity at first; then apples, apple peels, and sweet malty notes; some citrus as well. Gets more acidic with time.

Palate: As promised by the nose; the citrus soon comes to the fore. Nice texture–a little buttery

Finish: Long. Remains bright and acidic, with a slight hint of apricots, and then oak and some woody spice. A mild nutty/beany note hangs around for a while.

Comments: Other than that nutty/beany note (which I have encountered in another, younger Tamdhu) this is somewhat generic. I have had a number of very similar whiskies from distilleries such as Linkwood and (ex-bourbon cask) Benrinnes; and it is not a million miles either from the profile of the far superior Glenlivet Nadurra. But if it’s not particularly distinctive, or complex, it is certainly very pleasant. A very good light and easy-drinking malt for the summer months. And as summer is approaching, I am tempted to take Binny’s up on their current sale on this bottle. $39.99 for this seems like excellent value.

Rating: 84 points.

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