This is the third of four Signatory exclusives I purchased from Binny’s while in Chicago in September. Like the Glen Keith 19 that I reviewed in October, this was bottled not for Binny’s themselves but for Stoller Wines & Spirits, a Chicago-based wholesaler/distributor. As to whether anyone other than Binny’s carries their cask selections I’m not sure, and I rather suspect that these casks are also selected by the Binny’s crew. If you can confidently confirm or correct please write in below. Anyway, I took a flier on this bottle as I’ve had some pretty decent young, sherried Tamdhus before and the price was not too bad. I opened it a couple of weeks ago for my local group’s November tasting and while it smelled nice as I was pouring it, it didn’t really impress any of us overmuch. I thought it was too oaky and raw and that the sherry character was not as evident as you might expect from a first-fill sherry butt. It is at a very high strength though, and I rather expect there’s been some improvement with some air in the bottle. Let’s see.
Tamdhu 10, 2005 (60.5%; Signatory for Stoller; first fill sherry butt #354; from my own bottle)
Nose: Honey and raisins but also quite a bit of oak (a bit raw) and some floral notes. With some time and air there’s some butterscotch and quite a bit of rye. With more time still, the fruit expands but it’s somewhat unexpectedly (for first fill sherry) brighter fruit (peach, melon). With a lot of time (>30 minutes later) there’s more sherry character: toffee, gingerbread, nutmeg. Ah yes, with water there’s plum and a bit of apricot and the oak gets pushed back.
Palate: Softer than expected on the palate: not as much bite from the oak as the nose threatened and it’s maltier but it’s quite closed. Nice, thick mouthfeel though. As on the nose, it opens up a bit with a lot of time in the glass and there’s more toffee here too—everything’s still quite compressed though. Okay, time to add water. Water pushes the oak back further and rounds it out nicely—not quite as much fruit as appeared on the nose though and quite a bit of salt here.
Finish: Long. Oaky and spicy at first, getting mentholated as it goes. As on the palate with water with the spice emerging again at the end (cinnamon).
Comments: It wouldn’t surprise me if this was matured in a new American oak cask that had been seasoned for a little while with sherry—what Signatory labels “wine treated butt” when releasing in their regular CS decanter series. It certainly is no sherry bomb—though time, air and water do bring out more notes in that direction. Much better with water (I added quite a bit) and it has improved in the last 12 days. I’ll be interested to see if it gets even better in another month or so (I would have had it at 78-80 points when the bottle was first opened).
Rating: 83 points.