Following a brief closure from 2010 to 2013, Tamdhu has been working its way back into the Scotch scene, offering a variety of Speyside single malts often crafted with a heavy sherry influence. We covered Tamdhu 10 Years Old way back in 2014 (and various special editions since) and are now moving up the permanent roster, with a look at the 12 and 15 year old bottlings. Both are 100% matured in Oloroso sherry barrels, just like the 10 year old.
Let’s try them both.
Tamdhu 12 Years Old – Aged in both first fill and refill Oloroso sherry barrels of American and European oak. There’s no shortage of sherry character, leaning heavily on bright citrus on the nose, backed up by the expected notes of toasted nuts, oily leather, and a slight baking spice character. Whiskies fully matured in sherry can often get doughy on the palate, but Tamdhu 12 remains bright and refreshing, plump with orange, almost tangerine character. Rolling notes of cinnamon and ample sweetness give this a Sunday morning pastry vibe, with a clean, lightly salty finish that comes across as quite refreshing on its own or with a mixer. A very worthwhile upgrade from the 10 year old for just a few extra bucks. 86 proof. A- / $65 [BUY IT NOW FROM THE WHISKY EXCHANGE]
Tamdhu 15 Years Old – Fully sherry barrel matured in unstated cask types, other than using Oloroso sherry barrels. Same approach here, just bigger and bolder. The bright, sweet fruit of the 12 year old gives way to a richer, slightly oxidized experience that is more immediately evocative of sherry wine rather than straight citrus, which immediately makes for a more brooding, lumbering quality. A slight Lemon Pledge note gives this some additional aromatics that nod at austerity and the classic furniture polish qualities seen in older malt whiskies. At a relatively middle-aged 15 years old, it shows as quite a bit older than expected. That said, the palate feels like it stays the course, amping up those notes of oiled leather, gingery Christmas spices, and an oxidized wine quality that lingers on the finish. The slightly higher abv here is noticeable throughout, adding some heat to the experience — toasted nuts still warm from the fire. A reprise of flamed citrus keeps the finish lively, and while I’d like to see a little more depth in this whisky, the sherry-driven elements of the experience are decidedly on point. 92 proof. A- / $120 [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]