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Monday, October 21, 2019

Tamdhu 12 year old (2019)

When it came time to select single malts for a recent charity event, I had to choose a Macallan Killer. For previous events I'd gone with Glenfarclas 15, Glendronach 15 or Bunnahabhain 12, all whiskies I knew well. This time I took a risk with something I'd never tried.

I had liked Tamdhu's 10 year old single malt and was surprised to see a 12 year old showing up beside it so quickly (in 2 years! Math!) this year. Thanks to a happy discovery right before the event I found a bottle of the 12 selling for the same price as the 10.

No one at the event hated the thing, and I don't remember finding anything wrong with it at the time. Now there's some left and I'm thirsty.

Distillery: Tamdhu
Ownership: Ian Macleod Distillers
Region: Speyside (Central)
Age: minimum 12 years old
Maturation: "the finest sherry oak casks"
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
Chillfiltered? probably not (per whiskybase)
Colorant added? probably not (per whiskybase and distillery site)

It has clean, bright nose, with notes of roses, orange peel, almond extract and ginger powder. Some spice (cardamom and clove) and funky honey as well. The palate has some of the nose's roses(!), but is otherwise tighter and more astringent than expected. Nutty sherry and caramel. More oak and tannins appear with time. Roasted grains and caramel in the finish. Lots of rich American-ish oak. Hint of lime.

DILUTED TO ~37%abv, or 1 tsp of water per 30mL whisky
More generic sherry cask notes appear in the nose, like raisin and toasted oak. A little bit of honey mustard. Grape candy, raisins and ginger powder on the palate and finish.

Not a Macallan Killer, this one. The very friendly nose clashes with the sharp oaky palate. I think the distillery claims to use mostly (or entirely) European oak casks, but I'm reading lots of American oak action throughout. The 10 year old suits my fancy much more than the 12, so I actually hope the older version does not replace the younger one. I found the 10 to be quirkier, more complex and a better drinker. Though this does not stop me from desiring a try of their new 15 year old.

Availability - Specialty whisky retailers worldwide
Pricing - $50-$75 USA, $40-$65 Europe (minus taxes and tariffs)
Rating - 81