I’ve reviewed a few Tamdhus over the years but this is my first review of an official release. When I first started drinking single malt whisky the Tamdhu 10 was always a very affordable malt that presented reliable, if unspectacular pleasures. But about 10 years ago the line got revamped—I think there was an ownership change—with new bottle designs (somewhat resembling cola bottles) and higher prices. I still had a few bottles of the older 10 yo in reserve and by the time I got through with them (though I still have one bottle squared away, I think) I had lost touch entirely with the distillery. Indeed when the chance for this bottle split arose I was not sure how long ago the 15 yo joined their lineup. A quick bit of googling suggests that it hit the market in early 2019 as a “limited edition” of 24,000 bottles. And it is apparently entirely aged in oloroso sherry casks, made from a mix of European and American oak.
It seems to be available in Minnesota—Total Wine’s website lists a lower abv of 43% but I’m guessing that’s an error (they don’t have the right picture alongside either). The price is not low—let’s see if it matches the quality.
Tamdhu 15 (46%; European and American oak sherry casks; from a bottle split_
Nose: Juicy sherry with orange peel mixed in with raisins; some earthier notes below and some oak in the rear. Very nicely balanced. The citrus gets brighter as it sits and it’s joined by some apricot and some softer notes of toffee; the oak gets a good bit of polish; a leafy note in the back as well now that turns into roasted malt. With a few drops of water the toffee expands along with the apricot.
Palate: Comes in as promised by the nose but with the earthier notes and the malt in the lead over the fruit at first. The texture is a bit light but it’s a good drinking strength. On the second sip the fruit is back on top and the oak is more talkative now (providing counterpoint). With time there’s some chocolate mixed in with the roasted malt and it’s a bit spicier. Time to add water. The texture gets thinner still and there’s a bright metallic note to the citrus.
Finish: Long. The fruit emerges here, sweeter rather than tart, and the oak pops out again at the end. Brighter citrus here too with water and it blends nicely with the malt and oak.
Comments: This is really extremely well-made, extremely pleasurable sherry cask whisky. A pity about the price: $125 before tax for a 15 yo whisky not at cask strength. I guess we have to wait for the tariffs to be repealed. At a 25% lower price it might even represent good value for heavily sherried whisky of this age/quality compared to the field.
Rating: 88 points.