Many moons ago, I purchased a bottle of Tamdhu 10 for around $30 with the hope that I had found a value priced, age statement wearing, Single Malt Scotch Whisky. What I soon discovered AFTER making this purchase is that this was a bottling of what was left of the old stock when Tamdhu closed its doors in 2010. As time went by and word of the obvious lack of quality spread (for the longest time I referred to this distillery as Tam-DON’T), I watched the price drop to $25, and then to $20, as liquor stores in our area tried their best to move this product off of their shelves.
In 2011, Ian MacLeod Distillers purchased the shuttered Tamdhu distillery from the Edrington Group with the sole purpose of restoring this once proud distillery to its former glory. Invested with an influx of capital and the energy of an independent distiller, the Tamdhu 10 was rebranded, rebottled and re-released. I had the good fortune of tasting it at Jewbilee 2014 and thought it was fantastic (in fact, I liked it so much that I brought a bottle of this new Tamdhu 10 to our last bottle share).
A while ago, G-LO received a generous sample of the 2nd Tamdhu Batch Strength release. Given how much I enjoyed the new Tamdhu 10, when the opportunity to try the Batch Strength version, I jumped at the chance. Here’s what Tamdhu has to say about their Batch Strength 002…
A Tamdhu for the devoted malt fan, Batch Strength 002 is bottled un-chillfiltered at natural colour and at 58.5%. Each batch is unique and varies slightly in style and intensity. As with every bottle of Tamdhu, once distilled it is matured exclusively in hand-selected sherry oak casks. Our oak is the finest in the industry, with a high proportion being first-fill and teeming with flavour. Finally, patience is required to allow these fine casks to do their work, giving Tamdhu its deep colour and exquisite quality.
And here are our impressions…
- Appearance: Soft amber with mild legs.
- ABV: 58.5%
- Limpd: Vapory with a bit of menthol. Hints of leather, wood, Murphy’s Oil Soap and vanilla.
- G-LO: There is no denying that this whisky spent some time in a Sherry barrel. Deep dark, dried fruit, brown sugar, cinnamon, clove, allspice, and some musty grape is all in there.
- Limpd: A bit more than medium mouthfeel with alcohol vapors and a big hit of the oaken barrel upfront. Some sweetness and some spice. Not as overpowering as the 58.5% would suggest.
- G-LO: The mouthfeel on this one is rather thick and oily. Starts off quite hot with a blast of cinnamon, clove, and chili pepper heat. Gets really dry at mid-palate with those dried fruit notes making an appearance. Heats up again at the finish with some black pepper coming through. Quite astringent overall with the sweet heat lingering for a long time on the front third of my tongue. Adding 6 drops (yes, I counted them) of water increases the brown sugar sweetness and pumps up the heat too.
Limpd: A little too woody for me as the finish is a tad reminiscent of sucking on the popsicle stick long after your creamsicle has been finished. That said, the flavors upfront and mid-palate are very interesting and possess a unique charm all their own. While not my cup of tea, the Batch Strength 002 is worth a look and provides a promise that Tamdhu as a distillery is back!
G-LO: As Limpd mentioned at the beginning of this post, for the longest time, we always referred to Tamdhu as Tam-don’t. This was based on our experiences with a bargain basement Tamdhu 10 that was on the shelves several years ago. Thankfully, this is most definitely not that. I really enjoyed the Tamdhu Batch Strength and would definitely pick up a bottle. Though it’s not quite an Aberlour A’bunadh, it’s pretty darn close.