Back in 1896, a group of assemblers gathered to discuss opening the most technologically-advanced distillery in the world to make the “finest” whisky. They hired Charles C. Doig, the most respected distillery architect and engineer around, and by 1897, the first newmake rolled off the still of the new Tamdhu Distillery and aged in sherry casks from Jerez, Spain.
Tamdhu quickly caught the attention of others, and Highland Distillers acquired it. Mothballing occurred three times: 1911-1912, 1928-1947, and finally, 2010-2013. However, it never changed hands until 2010, when the Edrington Group (the owners of Highland) sold the dormant distillery to Ian Macleod Distillers.
This Speyside distillery in Knocknado was upgraded a few times, with perhaps the most significant in 1949 when it introduced Saladin boxes used to auto-turn the barley during the malting process. Tamdhu remains one of the few distilleries to have a malting floor on-premises.
Most of what Tamdhu produces winds up in blends such as J&B, Famous Grouse, and Cutty Sark. But, it does have single malts. Batch Strength is an annual special release, and I’ve acquired Batch 004 from 2019. Aged in American and European oak Oloroso sherry casks, it carries no age statement. It is non-chill filtered, naturally colored, and weighs in at a hefty 57.8% ABV (115.6°). The suggested retail is about $90.00.
A friend presented me with a sample of this Scotch and requested a review. That can only happen if I do the #DrinkCurious thing. Let’s do it!
Appearance: If you poured dark, raw honey into a Glencairn glass, that’s about as close a description of the color as I can offer. A microthin rim released weighty tears that crashed back into the pool of liquid sunshine.
Nose: A bouquet of raisin, apricot, vanilla, almond, and honey tickled my nostrils. It was dreamy, and the only thing that stopped me was my desire to taste it. When I made an effort to draw the air into my mouth, the sherry notes were thick.
Palate: A very oily, full-bodied texture greeted my tongue. The front of my palate found raisin, plum, and cherry, while the middle discovered orange peel, brown sugar, and chocolate. The back had flavors of black pepper, almond, and dry oak.
Finish: The extended, spicy ending consisted of dry oak and black pepper that carried past the berry, brown sugar, raisin, and chocolate. As I was pondering these, it struck me that it was reminiscent of Dr. Pepper.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: This is one of those, “Are you kidding me?” Scotches. I would drink this all day long. Tamdhu Batch Strength 004 is delicious, and it isn’t priced obnoxiously, especially for a cask-strength Single Malt. Is there something to complain about? Yeah, I’ve yet to see one on a store shelf. But, if you do, buy a Bottle, confident that you’re going to get your money’s worth and more. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It
Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.